The challenge of “opportunity youth” is prime for a “collective impact” approach. Progress in ensuring that all teens and young adults ages 16-24 are engaged in a productive pathway toward a career and self-sufficiency requires focused and interwoven effort of the public education system, higher education, vocational and workforce training programs, health and social services, law enforcement, employers, and other community resources. One of these sectors or resource types alone would not be sufficient; a coordinated, concerted effort is required. Furthermore, in order to have effective collaborative action on any social problem including the challenge of disconnected youth, the elements of the collective impact framework are needed: the development of shared vision; trust, effective relationships, and ongoing communication; aligned and synergistic strategies and activities; a shared system of measurement and tracking of progress; and strong backbone support.
The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) has served as a neutral partner providing behind the scenes capacity to operationalize the work of the Cecil County Collective Impact Coalition for Opportunity Youth since August 2018. Throughout the last six months, IPHI has supported the work of the Coalition through logistics administration, process facilitation, as well as stakeholder outreach and engagement.
During the third and fourth quarter of the project year, IPHI will maintain engagement of Coalition members and progress toward Coalition goals through the following activities:
- Further refine strategies, coalition workplans and measures. Begin workplan implementation by June of 2019.
- Begin implementing youth engagement strategy by May of 2019.
- Consider coordinating provider trainings (e.g., related to creating service system norms that reinforce independence, or considerations for establishing a mentorship program) and/or community engagement events- on hold
- Share best practices and suggested strategies to help move toward a system of shared accountability and system alignment- completed.
- Work with Coalition members to determine a process to monitor progress and shared accountability initiated in March, ongoing.
- Complete membership and communications plans- completed.
- Conduct a process evaluation. Are members satisfied with meeting structure, Coalition progress and direction- initiated in April, ongoin.