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Summer 2014

CLASP acknowledges with gratitude the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Forward Promise initiative. This periodic update for the field is a part of CLASP’s ongoing work to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Read more.

Community In Focus

Peralta Colleges to Lead $15 Million East Bay Consortium Career Pathways Grant

Last month, a consortium of community colleges, K-12 school districts, and workforce investment boards in the Bay area of California, was awarded $15 million in funds from the California Career Pathways Trust. The East Bay Consortium will use these funds to help students stay in school and move toward college and employment in high-demand fields. 

Resources to Check Out

Happenings to Watch
In This Issue
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Becomes Law; Potential Game Changer for Low-Income Youth

On Tuesday, July 22, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), enacted by large bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate, after 11 years of debate to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. 

At a time of sustained unemployment in many communities, the programs in WIOA are designed to help young people and adult workers prepare for work or further education, find jobs, and build the skills employers need. We applaud Congress for acting with near unanimity in taking this important step to create a workforce development system that better enables states and communities to connect low-income youth and adults to employment and training opportunities that lead to economic prosperity for themselves and their families. And we thank President Obama for moving so quickly to enact this law.

Key themes in the bill include:

  • An emphasis on the alignment of all core programs authorized in the bill, including a requirement for unified planning and reporting on a shared set of performance measures across these programs. These steps offer the potential for streamlining and significantly improving service delivery to participants, particularly low-income, low-skilled individuals.
  • A heightened focus on providing training and helping participants prepare for postsecondary education to improve their success in the labor market.
  • Greater focus on and new vehicles for addressing the needs of youth and adults who have significant barriers to employment.
  • Strong support for implementation of innovative adult education models such as integrated education and training, career pathways and sector strategies.
  • A recognition—through  the incorporation of measureable skill gains as an interim indicator of progress and required use of a performance adjustment model—that some workers will need more intensive assistance and additional time in the core programs.:

Read more about WIOA and how it serves disadvantaged youth>>

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Redefining Youth Who Face Barriers to High School Graduation

Students who leave school without obtaining a high school diploma are often stigmatized. Preconceptions about the lives, circumstances, work ethic, and abilities of these students make it more difficult to access resources that will help them get back into school and complete a high school credential. The negatively charged term “dropout,” used to describe students who do not complete school, was the central theme of Don’t Call Them Dropouts, a report from America’s Promise Alliance. To gain an understanding of youth’s barriers to success, study authors held focus groups and interviews with youth across the country, including youth from Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth (CCRY) member communities. CCRY Network communities are dedicated to developing cross-system policy and practice solutions on behalf of youth who are disconnected from work and school.

Every year, approximately 800,000 young students fail to graduate on time. Approximately one-fifth of young people who begin ninth grade do not complete high school on time, if ever. In large urban environments, on-time graduation rates average 50 percent or less, with African American, Native American, and Latino youth having the lowest rates of completion. Although recent data has shown a decline in non-graduates, far too many young people still leave school without a diploma.

Read more about the barriers to high school graduation>>

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Spotlight Webcast: College and Career Readiness

College and Career Readiness is being acknowledged as a solution to providing a pathway out of  poverty. In the report released by the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Uneven Ground,  presents the data and solutions surrounding the scope of this problem. Rhonda Bryant, Director of Youth Policy at CLASP and the report's author, sat down with Spotlight's Jodie Levin-Epstein to discuss the statistics and scope of the issues and some solutions to the problems being faced in the U.S. educational system. Yohance Maqubela, Executive Director of Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, joins the discussion to present a successful model that prepares students for college and helps these students become ready for careers.

View the webcast featuring Rhonda Bryant and Yohance Maqubela>>

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