We’re motivated to have data that reaffirms our Connected Youth Initiative is driving results! This past year, we’ve obtained evidence that the LEAP initiative continues to be a success.
To provide some background, in 2015, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, spearheaded the initial iteration of Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential or LEAP. Nebraska is one of ten LEAP sites across the country.
This initiative aims to increase employment and educational opportunities for youth that range from 15 to 25 years old.
Specifically, LEAP’s target demographic is young people who are confronted with major life struggles, including homelessness and experience in the child welfare or justice systems.
The Anne E. Casey Foundation has provided a more detailed breakdown of LEAP participants. Within the past three years, LEAP sites enrolled nearly 2,800 young people.
Here’s the LEAP demographic:
- The primary recipients who benefit more than 80% from LEAP are youth of color
- 51% have been involved in foster care
- 37% have been involved in the justice system
- 50% have experienced homelessness
Nebraska’s Connected Youth Initiative has implemented LEAP for the past three years in Omaha and Lincoln, using Jobs for the Future’s Back on Track™ framework. This framework helps Nebraska’s unconnected youth to transition into post-secondary education and succeed at that crucial first year of college or career training.
Sara Riffel, Associate Vice President of the Connected Youth Initiative, recently presented at the 2019 Blueprint for Success Conference along with Crystal Aldmeyer, Assistant Vice President of Transition Services, Felipe Longoria, Program Director of Central Plains Center for Services, and Kenta Estrada-Darley from CRCD, a LEAP site based in LA County.
When Sara returned, she reiterated some positive LEAP statistics.
- After three years of hard work from committed community-based and postsecondary education partners, nearly 400 unconnected youth in Nebraska enrolled in LEAP programming
- Of those youth, 84% entered college
- 65% of those that entered college completed their first year
- The national average for foster youth completing their first year is 26.9%
Sara said, “We still have work to do, but WOW! It is promising what collaboration and thinking outside the box can do for young people to BringUpNebraska.”
We continue to grow our LEAP efforts, thanks to support from our generous partners, and can’t wait to move into 2020 as we continue with these efforts.