Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
American Institutes for Research. (2019). Opportunity Youth Research Agenda. Washington, DC: Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs.
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. The American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480.
Borges Martins, E., Elder, J., Lewis, K., & Burd-Sharps, S. (2009). Goals for the common good: Exploring the impact of education. American Human Development Project and United Way. Retrieved from https://www.issuelab.org/resources/3795/3795.pdf
Bridgeland, J. M., & Milano, J. A. (2012). Opportunity Road: The Promise and Challenges of America’s Forgotten Youth. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises and America’s Promise Alliance. Retrieved from https://aspencommunitysolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Opportunity_Road_Report.pdf
Burd-Sharps, S., & Lewis, K. (2017). Promising gains, persistent gaps youth disconnection in America. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from https://ssrc-static.s3.amazonaws.com/moa/Promising%20Gains%20Final.pdf
Burd-Sharps, S., & Lewis, K. (2018). More than a million reasons for hope: Youth disconnection in America today. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from https://ssrc-static.s3.amazonaws.com/moa/dy18.full.report.pdf
Lerner, R. M., Lerner, J. V., Almerigi, J. B., Theokas, C., Phelps, E., Gestsdottir, S., …von Eye, A. (2005). Positive youth development, participation in community youth development programs, and community contributions of fifth-grade adolescents: Findings from the first wave of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. Journal of Early Adolescence, 25(1), 17-71.
Lewis, K. (2019). Making the connection: Transportation and youth disconnection. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from https://ssrc-static.s3.amazonaws.com/moa/Making%20the%20Connection.pdf
Lewis, K. (2020). A decade undone: Youth disconnection in the age of Coronavirus. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from https://ssrc-static.s3.amazonaws.com/moa/ADecadeUndone.pdf
Lewis, K., Burd-Sharps, S., & Ofrane, B. (2018). Youth disconnection rates highlight structural barriers to achievement in the U.S. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council.
Lewis, K., & Gluskin, R. (2018). Two futures: The economic case for keeping youth on track. Brooklyn, NY: Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from https://measureofamerica.org/psid/
Mendelson, T., Mmari, K., Blum, R. W., Catalano, R. F., & Brindis, C. D. (2018). Opportunity youth: Insights and opportunities for a public health approach to reengage disconnected teenagers and young adults. Public Health Reports, 133(Supplement 1), 545-645. doi:10.117/0033354918799344
Patton, G. C., Sawyer, S. M., Santelli, J. S., Ross, D. A., Afifi, R.,…Viner, R. M. (2016). Our future: A Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing. Lancet, 387(10036). doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00579-1
Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2017). Young workers index, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/news-room/docs/pwc-young-workers-index-2017-full-report.pdf
Search Institute. (2020a). The Developmental Relationship Survey. Retrieved from https://www.search-institute.org/developmental-relationships-survey/
Search Institute. (2020b). The Developmental Relationships Framework. Retrieved from https://www.search-institute.org/developmental-relationships/developmental-relationships-framework/
Taylor, R. D., Oberle, E., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Promoting positive youth development through school-based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta-analysis of follow-up effects. Child Development, 88(4), 1156-71.
Towns, S. (2019). Equity counts: Using data to increase equity and improve metric outcomes for opportunity youth. The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. Retrieved from https://aspencommunitysolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Equity-Counts-Full-Report-Sept-2019.pdf
Uvin, J. E. (2016). A first job can change a life. U.S. Department of Education: Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. Retrieved from https://sites.ed.gov/octae/2016/12/21/a-first-job-can-change-a-life
Other Resources on this Topic
Webinars & Presentations
Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people
Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.
Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.
Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.
Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).