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Local Philadelphia Leaders Convene to Support Opportunity Youth


Category: Project U-Turn | Nov 6, 2013

Local leaders from Philadelphia traveled to Aspen, Colorado from November 4-6 to represent Project U-Turn at the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions Opportunity Youth Convening.  Project U-Turn is Philadelphia's collaborative approach to dropout prevention and re-engagement.   Since the inception of Project U-Turn in 2006, Philadelphia has seen its four-year high-school-graduation rate increase by 12% - from 52 % in 2006 to 64% in 2012. 

Earlier this year, The Aspen Institute announced a three-year grant of over $499,000 to Project U-Turn, Philadelphia's city-wide campaign to draw attention to and resolve the city's drop-out crisis.  This grant will allow the initiative to delve deeper into the needs of Philadelphia's opportunity youth and to extend its capacity to more fully address those needs.

The Convening served as a platform for all grantees under the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund to gather and learn from one another in the critical effort to addressing the needs of opportunity youth, who are defined as Americans 16-24 who are disconnected from education and work.

The Aspen Institute's generous investment is part of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF), in which 21 communities were awarded grants totaling $6 million.  The grants are designed to recognize cities that already have or are poised to harness the power of cross-sector collaboration to make substantive progress for opportunity youth, defined as Americans 16-24 who are disconnected from education and work. Of the 21 funded communities, Philadelphia is one of just two recipients awarded an implementation, as opposed to a planning, grant. 

"Our team is grateful for the opportunity to attend the Aspen Institute's Opportunity Youth Convening," said Chekemma Fulmore Townsend, Acting President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network.  "Addressing the challenges faced by opportunity youth is not unique to Philadelphia, so having a chance to meet and convene with other thought partners from around the country is an excellent way to share knowledge, recognize best practices, and gain momentum to propel this work forward and provide a better future for all young people."

The Philadelphia Youth Network serves as the managing partner of Project U-Turn, on behalf of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success and Philadelphia Works. 

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