The CA EDGE Coalition is committed to addressing workforce shortages while creating pathways to good jobs and, historically, the focus of these efforts has been on adults. EDGE is proud to announce we are expanding our efforts to include opportunity youth (OY) and focusing a policy agenda that centers OY in workforce development, education, and training advocacy efforts.

Who are Opportunity Youth?

OY are individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 that are not in school or working, including youth and young adults involved with the foster care, juvenile justice, and homelessness systems of care. They face unique employment, education, and training barriers that often do not align with efforts that center adults. Opportunity youth facing socio-economic and systemic barriers are oftentimes disconnected from education and workforce training opportunities, preventing young people of color from accessing our state’s prosperity.

Click here for framing recommendations for communicating about Opportunity Youth in positive, asset based, and explanatory ways.

California EDGE Coalition’s 2023 Opportunity Youth Policy Agenda

EDGE’s 2023 Opportunity Youth Policy Agenda seeks to advance policies and investments that will support opportunity youth (OY) in accessing and completing education and training programs that lead them to good jobs, while also supporting the workforce needs of industry. Prioritizing opportunity youth will not only expand education and workforce opportunities for them, but also expand the pool of talent that employers can access to meet their workforce needs.

      • Protect funding for education and workforce training programs that benefit OY and create pathways to good jobs.
      • Expand innovative “earn and learn” opportunities, including apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other work-based training opportunities that center young adults.
      • Advance the implementation of adult dual enrollment, which will allow OY to earn college credit while earning their high school equivalency.
      • Protect and expand social safety net investments for OY that support basic needs such as food, housing, internet access, transportation, childcare, and healthcare-enabling them to complete their education/training goals and thrive in today’s labor market.
      • Engage in the development and implementation of California’s Cradle to Career Data System to ensure the system considers the unique challenges and reflects the needs of OY.
      • Remove barriers OY face when accessing financial aid for education and training programs.
      • Support permanent investments in the CaliforniaForAll Youth Jobs Corps intended to  create and expand youth employment opportunities that provide valuable job skills, public service career pathways, and help youth engage with their communities.

Get Involved!

If you’re interested in joining our efforts to prioritize OY and eliminate systemic barriers keeping thousands of young people from accessing our state’s prosperity, you can take action today!

      1. Include OY in your organizations’ policy priorities and focus on policies and investments that uplift OY.
      2. Attend California Youth Apprenticeship Committee meetings to learn more and provide public comment. 
      3. Visit the CA EDGE Coalition’s take action page for ready to use advocacy tools and messaging.

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