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October 16, 2014

San Diego was recently selected to receive an implementation award from the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions’ Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF). This three-year $500,000 grant to the San Diego Youth Development Office (YDO) will provide backbone support to the San Diego Youth Opportunity Pathways Initiative (PATHWAYS). San Diego joins 20 cities in a national cohort to address the issues associated with the rise in Opportunity Youth—16 to 24-year-olds who are not attached (or insufficiently) attached to education, training and employment. The local initiative will contribute to the national policy and funding agenda as it relates to this population.

This award is an acknowledgement of a yearlong planning process that resulted in a theory of change and a plan to connect Opportunity Youth to secondary and postsecondary education, training, certification and employment. The YDO is the backbone organization for this collective impact initiative which includes the following partners: City Districts 4, 8 & 9 Council Offices, County Districts 1 & 4 Supervisors’ Offices, Child Welfare, Probation, Police, Commission on Gang Prevention & Intervention, San Diego Community College District, San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), San Diego Workforce Partnership, and several community based organizations and youth. The YDO brokered a partnership between SDWP and SDUSD that leveraged funding for a two-year reengagement activities pilot for 250 Opportunity Youth who are at severe risk of dropping out of high school and recent dropouts. The Urban League of San Diego County will provide Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) Case Management Services, and SDUSD will provide mentoring and educational services to these youth.

Partners will come together on November 18 for the PATHWAYS Launch Meeting to give those involved an opportunity to receive an update on initiative and reengagement activities, meet the mentors and case managers, and learn about how to get more involved. 

To learn more about the PATHWAYS Initiative, visit

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