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What are Some Examples of What Pilot Projects Might Look Like?

Because Performance Partnership Pilots are intended to respond to the needs of specific communities in improving outcomes for disconnected youth, Federal agencies expect to see a wide range of project proposals. While the definition of disconnected youth in the Act is broad and allows for numerous approaches, the Federal agencies are particularly interested in pilots that target very high-need or underserved populations. These populations may benefit most from the innovative and systemic approaches that the authority provides. In order to demonstrate the breadth of possible pilot designs and to stimulate communities’ thinking, this section provides some illustrative examples of ways to use the Performance Partnership Pilot authority. This list is not exhaustive, and there are other pilot designs that could be supported.

  • A State and a local community could develop and test a coordinated approach to serving youth involved in multiple systems (juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, workforce, and vocational rehabilitation systems), creating joint performance goals, integrating services for vulnerable youth and their families, and correcting problems with eligibility requirements that currently lead to service gaps.
  • A local community could address a growing rate of drug addiction and incarceration among youth by forming a partnership that includes substance abuse treatment providers, the workforce development agency, and business partners that will guarantee part-time or full-time work experiences to recovering addicts.
  • A community could use a mix of job training funds, child welfare, and mental health funds to use sector or industry-based occupational training strategies for youth to prepare them for good careers while also addressing barriers to employment.
  • A local community could support children of incarcerated parents, who may be disconnected or at high risk of becoming disconnected, by forming a coalition of health professionals and educators who can identify and implemented appropriate connectedness and socio-emotional strategies to keep youth engaged in their community and schools.
  • A community could blend job training funds and after-school programming funding to use after-school programs as reengagement centers for disconnected youth.
  • A State that is developing a Pay for Success project to improve outcomes for youth ex-offenders could finance a portion of the project with blended Federal funding and improve coordination of services with other government programs in order to bolster impact and increase potential savings from reduced recidivism.
  • A Promise Zone community that has implemented a strong collective impact model for tracking progress on multiple indicators could work with local business partners to implement a promising intervention that provides youth with skills training, mentoring, and valuable work experience.
  • A State operating an intensive, quasi-military residential program could partner with a local community to provide continuing education, mentoring, and job placement services to participants when they move back into their communities and evaluate whether these additional services enhance the impact of the existing program (rigorous research has already shown sizeable effects by such programs on earnings and High School Equivalency attainment).
  • A State and local community could build an integrated enrollment and case management system with the capacity to assess risk factors for interaction with various youth-serving systems in order to better target appropriate services to the highest users of multiple systems.
  • A State receiving funding from multiple formula grants that are competed out to local communities could launch a new competition, blending portions of these multiple grants and other State programs, to develop and scale effective programs, such as ones that provide academic tutoring, skills training, mentoring, and work experience to at-risk youth.
  • A local community could provide rigorous work experience and academic and occupational skills training in high-growth fields to assist youth in attaining a high school equivalency, occupational credentials and on-ramps to careers by blending job training, adult education, library, and other discretionary funding as well as leveraged funding from local employers for work experiences.

In each of these models, strong data infrastructure, performance management, and evaluation would play a central role in helping States and communities measure progress and results in order to inform providers and decision-makers about what is working well and what adjustments are needed.