According to a Measure of America study, Phoenix had an 18.8% rate of disconnection amongst youth ages 16-24. This compares to a national youth disconnection rate of 14.7%. Unemployment in Phoenix for the same group was 20.5%. The greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area was ranked number one for having the highest percentage of disconnected youth, out of the top 25 largest metropolitan areas in 2012 (Measure of America). According to a 2015 Morrison Institute Report, over 92,000 people between the ages of 16 and 24 in metro Phoenix who are neither working nor in school will cost taxpayers $27.3 billon over their lifetime and will have a lifetime social burden of $218.5 billion.
Opportunities for Youth will address this challenge in the following ways:
Build public support to help disconnected (opportunity) youth re-engage in school and work
Build a system of support that ensures all youth-serving organizations serving this population have the principles, standards and processes that will health be successful
Build a system of collaboration and alignment to avoid duplication and to effectively serve as many youth as possible
Opportunities for Youth is approaching strategies and solutions through adopting the collective impact model. This model consists of cross-sector collaboration to solve challenging problems in the community. No single problem can be addressed in isolation. For large-scale social change to occur there needs to be a concerted effort of the existing players mobilized to take action. Collective Impact is organized around the following five components:
- A common agenda, which is the common understanding of the problem and a shared vision for change
- Agreed upon shared measurements, which include collecting shared data and measuring results
- Mutually reinforcing activities, which consist of coordination and joint planning to reduce duplication and maximize effectiveness
- Continuous communication focused on building trust and maintaining consistent and open communication
- A backbone entity that will coordinate and guide the collective efforts and provide support, resources and secure funding to help the initiative move forward in a collective manner.