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The Opportunity Youth Forum

Monique Miles And Yelena Nemoy

Executive Summary

The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) collaboratives seek a world in which all young people – especially youth who have been disconnected from school and work – have the opportunity to attain the skills needed to succeed regardless of their background or socioeconomic circumstances. In order to make this vision a reality, collaboratives are placing equity at the center of their collective impact efforts for opportunity youth. The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (AIFCS) defines equity as just and fair inclusion in a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.

Recognizing that community collaboratives operate within a context of structural inequity that makes equitable outcomes unlikely, OYF collaboratives know they must pay explicit attention to policies and practices that reinforce inequity in their communities. In fact, OYF collaboratives know that without constant attention to equity, their work to align and coordinate systems for opportunity youth can easily reinforce institutional patterns of disparity, negating their efforts to improve outcomes for these young people. By using an equity lens to focus on both systems change and the unique needs of priority populations (such as youth in foster care or boys and men of color), AIFCS is ensuring the needs of youth who face the most significant barriers to success are met.


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