In-School Youth Models

At-Risk Youth Enrolled in High School

This pathway is designed to offer a multi-year progressively deepening engagement with high school youth enrolled in 11th or 12th grades and are at risk of dropping out and those in need of additional support transitioning to and persisting in post-secondary education or sustainable employment. Upon program completion, successful participants will graduate high school, connect with an appropriate post-secondary option and complete one year of college coursework or retain and advance to employment. Key to the pathway’s success is the integration of career-connected learning and experiences with school-day curriculum and activities.

Out-of-School Youth Models

Opportunity Youth Without a Secondary Credential

This pathway is designed to reengage high school dropouts in education to obtain a GED and continue to build their competencies and skills beyond the secondary level. Because the employment opportunities of GED recipients are not much improved over the prospects of high school dropouts, it is imperative that GED attainment be the first step on a path to accessing and persisting in post-secondary education. Key to the pathway’s success is barrier removal, curriculum tied to college-readiness standards and the GED, and a continuum of services moving participants through college exploration, exposure and preparation to access and persist in post-secondary education.

Opportunity Youth With a Secondary Credential

This pathway will target opportunity youth who have obtained a secondary credential, but who are disconnected from both school and work. Programs will offer industry-recognized credentials that prepare participants for positions in industries with high-growth potential in Philadelphia. Key to this pathway’s success is the development of relationships with youth-serving organizations, employers and advanced training institutions to recruit eligible participants interested in the identified industry, and to account for participants’ interests in creating a pipeline of varying options for additional training or education and employment opportunities within the identified industry.

E3 Power Centers

The E3 Center model is a neighborhood-based, holistic approach to preparing out-of-school youth and youth returning from juvenile placement to achieve long-term educational, career and personal goals, including self-sufficiency. Philadelphia’s E3 Centers are designed to provide supports along three interrelated pathways: Education, Employment, and Empowerment, the three E’s. The educational pathway provides a broad array of educational services that support youth at varying academic levels, including: low-literacy supports; GED-prep classes; and post-secondary access and planning. The employment pathway provides intensive work-readiness programming that prepares participants for unsubsidized employment. Preparatory services include job-readiness training, subsidized internships, community-service and service-learning opportunities, as well as job search assistance. Using positive youth development principles as the cornerstone, Empowerment services support the development of life skills that help youth promote and sustain productive and healthy choices.

Successful E3 members accomplish the following outcomes:
  • Increased literacy and numeracy skills
  • 21st century and work-readiness skills development
  • Attainment of a GED or High School Diploma
  • Post-secondary placement

Youth Eligibility
  • Ages 16 to 21
  • Have dropped out of school, and/or returning from juvenile placement (referred through the Reintegration Initiative)

Summer Work Experience Models

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Summer Work Experience models offer educationally-enriched work opportunities to in-school and out of school youth ages 14-21. Participants complete a six-week (120 hour), paid work experience that fosters the acquisition of the 21st Century skills through work-based learning. These models challenge youth to understand the correlations between such variables as work experience, skill attainment and high school completion and how those variables impact their potential for college and career success. Additionally, they offer participants a pathway for credit attainment within the School District of Philadelphia. Opportunities are offered through one of three program models: service-learning, work experience, and internships.

Youth Eligibility
  • Ages 14 - 21 (Internships are generally 16-21)
  • Philadelphia resident
  • Has not matriculated into post-secondary education

Service Learning

Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy in which youth address real-world issues that are relevant to their community. This model allows youth to explore these issues through research, reflection, and action. Summer Service Learning programs organize young people into teams that address complex, community problems in a holistic way; while also offering young people the opportunity to simultaneously serve and learn. As part of their service-learning experience, all participants complete a project connected to the communal activity that enables them to hone both their work-readiness and their academic skills.

Work Experience

Work Experience programs are intended for youth with limited or no work experience. Activities blend work experience with work-readiness training in ways that expand participants’ knowledge of workplace competencies and careers while also underscoring the importance of academic achievement and its link to career advancement. Youth participants develop work-based learning projects that demonstrate the knowledge they have gained and provide opportunities to build academic skills, enhance their work readiness and expand their awareness of career options.


Internships offer summer work experience and career-exposure opportunities for youth with prior work experience and a basic understanding of workplace competencies. Interns work independently rather than in groups and participate in a series of professional development workshops which focus on career exploration and aptitude assessment as well as work-readiness. Participants have the choice of completing a work-based learning project or a portfolio.

Pilot Programs

Career Exposure

(This pilot is currently only available for six weeks during the summer.)
Career Exposure programs provide opportunities for rising 8th grade youth to develop the beginnings of a strong vocational identity, understand what careers are available in local, high-priority growth industries, and what skills and experience those careers require. Specifically, Career Exposure programs engage youth in completion of an interest inventory, in-depth research into career clusters (e.g., research projects, guest speakers, job shadowing, work site and/or college visits), and completion of an individualized career plan.

Youth Eligibility
  • Rising 8th graders (ages 12 - 14)
  • Philadelphia resident

Bridge to Success

Bridge to Success (B2S) program pilot is designed to enhance the academic and social readiness of new students within the Accelerated High Schools. Accelerated High Schools are a collection of small schools created for over-age and under-credited students, ages 16-21 years old who are returning to high school or at risk of dropping out. The Accelerated High Schools often enroll students who are low-skilled in literacy and math and who have been disengaged from school for various reasons and lengths of time.

Project U-Turn emphasizes enhancing the academic and social readiness of new students entering the Accelerated High Schools. The B2S program exists as a supplement to the standard Accelerated High School services and supports. B2S is envisioned to promote interest-based learning, foster community among peers, equip students with useful learning strategies and welcome formerly disengaged students back into a school.

Philadelphia Research Pilot

With the support of Dr. Sara Heller, Assistant Professor at University of Pennsylvania, and the Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, the Philadelphia Youth Network is conducting a pilot research project to assess the impact of summer jobs on youth. While we do not anticipate the research study impacting our WorkReady program, we and the City may be sharing information on youth applicants with the researchers, for research purposes only. Please feel free to call our hotline at 267-502-3742 or email us at for more information.

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