Pathways for Youth: Strategic Plan for Federal Collaboration

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The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (Working Group) has developed a strategic plan, Pathways for Youth (PDF, 38 pages), that identifies three primary goals: 1) collaborate to coordinate strategies across federal departments to improve youth outcomes; 2) promote the use of evidence-based and innovative strategies at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels; and 3) promote youth engagement and partnerships to strengthen programs and benefit youth.

The Working Group pursued a multistep strategy in developing the plan, which included the initial framework, public input process, and federal drafting effort. Partner agencies and related key federal coordination groups collaborated to develop Pathways for Youth and ensure its alignment with federal strategic plans. This report is a first step to help the Working Group’s partners address their common goals for youth, elevate strong models of youth programs, policies, and other supports, and articulate areas for future collaborative work with and for youth. It is distinct from agency plans in that it has a specific focus on federal collaboration related to youth programs.

Pathways for Youth is founded on three overarching and interrelated strategic goals; each is supported by a number of objectives and strategies. The strategic goals address the Working Group’s primary purposes, as well as the input generated by the stakeholders at federal, state, and local levels:

  1. COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION — Promote coordinated strategies to improve youth outcomes.
    Objective 1: Align and simplify federal guidance for youth programs.
    Objective 2: Coordinate youth programming and funding support at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels.
    Objective 3: Coordinate technical assistance efforts to leverage resources.
  2. EVIDENCE-BASED AND INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES — Promote the use of evidence-based and innovative strategies at federal, state, local, and tribal levels.
    Objective 1: Encourage the adoption of evidence-based strategies, and support their implementation.
    Objective 2: Support innovation and deepen the evidence base to fill gaps in knowledge.
  3. YOUTH ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS — Promote youth engagement and partnership to strengthen programs and benefit youth.
    Objective 1: Promote youth-adult partnerships to support sustained youth engagement efforts and strengthen programs.
    Objective 2: Provide and encourage federal, state, local, and tribal provision of multiple opportunities for youth to develop, master, and apply critical skills, including life and leadership skills.

As the Working Group pursues the goals and objectives outlined in this plan, it will be able to set targets for collaborative results and identify areas for strategic recommendations and initiatives to address common goals for youth. These activities will be undertaken together within existing authorities and areas of administrative flexibility for departments and agencies to do their work.

The plan also outlines four cross-cutting initiatives developed by the Working Group:

  1. Develop shared language on cross-cutting youth topics for federal grant applications and other federal documents and publications.
  2. Develop new or assess and disseminate existing models of collaboration that provide a pathway to opportunity for youth and yield positive results.
  3. Centralize and disseminate information on promising and evidence-based strategies for youth, including promising youth engagement and partnership strategies.
  4. Promote data collection and long-term evaluation of youth programs.

Pathways for Youth concludes with supporting documents, including Executive Order 13459, Omnibus Appropriations Act language, the Working Group federal participant list, the executive summary of the Draft Public Input Summary Report, and the Pathways for Youth at-a-glance overview.

Read more about the strategic plan.

Download Pathways for Youth (PDF, 38 pages).