Youth Jobs Program Gets Pink Slip: Reaching Out-of-School Youth

Natalie Gardner
March 1, 2002

In its second year of operation, the Arkansas Youth Opportunity Movement (YO) has 1,400 participants, 700 of whom are out of school. That makes it one of the top Youth Opportunity Grant (YOG) programs in terms of finding and recruiting out-of-school youth, which is often one of the biggest challenges for the programs. YO has hit 127 percent of its U.S. Department of Labor goal in this area (along with 106 percent of its goal for total enrollment).

One reason for this success: YO is among only a handful of YOG agencies to create a youth advocate program. The agency hires youth who have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills to work part-time at the YO centers and help recruit out-of-school participants.

“They have my ear and the ear of the management team,” says Toyce Newton, executive director of the YO parent agency, Phoenix Youth & Family Services. “It works because they have a full and complete voice in the services of their population.”

The program includes the youth leaders in staff training and sends them to the Youth Opportunity Leadership Institute twice a year.

“It’s a great addition because these young people give us the insight into what youth want in our programs,” Newton says.

Gardner, Natalie. "Youth Jobs Program Gets Pink Slip: Reaching Out-of-School Youth." Youth Today, March 2002, p.36.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.