The Forum for Youth Investment is a lead partner on the College and Career Readiness and Success Center. The Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan action tank dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are ready for college, work and life by age 21. As an action tank, we combine the ideas of a think tank – disseminating the best research about youth development practices – with the services of a consultant – helping community leadership groups implement those ideas on the ground. Thus our tag line: “Moving Ideas to Impact.”
The Forum’s primary initiative is Ready by 21©, a set of strategies to help communities and states make a measurable difference in the lives of children and youth. Those strategies aim to insulate the traditional education pipeline with services and supports that go beyond academics, to help young people reach the three rings of the Readiness Target: Academically and Vocationally Productive; Socially and Civically Connected; and Physically and Emotionally Healthy and Safe. The Forum helps leadership groups carry out these strategies through technical assistance as well as free tools.
Our Credentialed by 26 initiative, which includes technical assistance to communities as well as state policy analysis, helps leaders and institutions ensure successful transitions for older youth and young adults, with an emphasis on increasing postsecondary success. The Forum is also a convening partner of the Opportunity Youth Network, a national network focused on reconnecting 16- to 24-year-olds through collective impact strategies that bring multiple sectors together to focus on this population.
On our “think tank” side, the Forum produces research-based articles and reports, such as this article on college and career readiness, and this blog on reconnecting “opportunity youth.” The Forum also publishes issue briefs that examine efforts to improve college readiness, access and success. We use our electronic newsletters and websites to disseminate these resources, as well as those from other organizations, such as this blog from Tennessee about broadening the concept of readiness beyond academics.
Karen Pittman is co-founder and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, and a respected sociologist and leader in youth development.