WEBCAST: Performance Partnership Pilots and Disconnected Youth

April 14, 2014

On April 21, the Department of Education, the Office of Management and Budget, the Corporation for National and Community Service and other agencies will host an informational session about a new federal effort to help communities and nonprofits do more with federal resources to support disconnected or Opportunity Youth. The webcast will be recorded.

The Performance Partnership Pilots program, launching later this year, will provide unprecedented flexibility to states, local communities, and tribes intended to remove some of the barriers to effectively serving disconnected youth, including youth who are low income and either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, unemployed, or not enrolled in or at risk of dropping out of an educational institution.

The webcast will cover the program, its design and planned activities around the launch. It is hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Management and Budget, in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Why Performance Partnerships?

Over 6 million 16- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. are not working or in school and, in many cases, face the additional challenges of being homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system.

Often disconnected from their families and valuable social networks, these young people struggle to make successful transitions to adulthood and to reach the educational and employment milestones critical to escaping a lifetime of poverty.

While much progress has been made, more must be done—including removing obstacles to collaboration among agencies and organizations that support young people's education, employment, health and well-being. This pilot is designed to help collective impact efforts address gaps in services, fragmented data systems and complex administrative requirements that get in the way of holistic approaches to helping our most vulnerable youth.

How Will It Work?

The primary focus of this new approach will be providing disconnected youth in these communities with more effective supports to climb ladders of opportunity. 

Jurisdictions are invited to submit proposals that detail their strategy and need for flexibility, along with clear metrics of success. An interagency review process will select up to 10 pilots that will enable communities to blend together competitive and formula grant funding that they receive from participating federal agencies.

Pilots can take diverse approaches that are designed to respond to community needs and priorities. Pilots also will be able to seek waivers of specific program requirements that inadvertently may hamper effective services for youth. This flexibility will be granted to high performing jurisdictions that then will be held accountable to a set of cross-agency, data-driven outcomes.

For more on this program, check out the recent post on the Department of Education's Homeroom Blog.

According to a recent post on FindYouthInfo.gov by the Department of Education's Johan Uvin and the Office of Management and Budget's Kathy Stack, criteria for selecting pilots are still being developed but the Administration may look to factors that can demonstrate a State or community’s potential for making a significant impact, including:

  1. A strong outcome-focused plan based on a needs assessment that targets services to those youth most in need. Applicants would select practices that are most likely to improve outcomes for target populations as well as the cost-effectiveness of government services. Plans would identify outcome metrics and key interim indicators for measuring progress, including education, employment, and other measures in areas such as health or criminal justice, and also specific data sources that can be used to effectively capture progress.
  2. Capacity to effectively implement an innovative pilot project through strong partnerships with the necessary State, local, nonprofit and private sector partners, and a strong governance structure that effectively manages the partners and their resources. Pilots must demonstrate having the data capacity that will enable State or local leaders to manage for results, using outcome-focused performance agreements and continuously improving performance by tracking key indicators. Sites must also have a strong track record of proper stewardship of Federal funds.
  3. A plan to use and build knowledge about what works by adopting research-based practices and interventions that have shown promise in earlier high quality studies, by embedding appropriate evaluation designs into the pilot and by participating in a network of other pilot communities that will share best practices and lessons learned.
  4. Need for flexibility to improve outcomes. Proposals should present a compelling case for how their requested flexibilities under the pilot would allow them to better serve the target population.

To watch the webcast, RSVP to DisconnectedYouth@ed.gov  by April 17.

It will be recorded and posted on Findyouthinfo.gov for later viewing and sharing.