Opportunity Youth Programs based in Urban and Metropolitan Universities: A Scan of the Field

Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Community Planning and Development


In the United States, nearly five million, or one in nine, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are classified as “opportunity youth.” That is, they are neither in school nor in the workforce. This presents broad economic and social challenges for entire communities. CUMU member institutions can play a key role in addressing the barriers leading to these high levels of disconnection from education and employment.

This report identifies encouraging university-involved opportunity youth programs from across the CUMU membership and is a direct response to needs identified at a meeting between CUMU member institutions and the Annie E. Casey Foundation at the 2018 CUMU Annual Conference.

Following a competitive RFP process, the Center for Community Planning and Development in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University was selected to carry out this important work. Their research will help to establish new avenues for employment and educational opportunities that can be replicated across North America. In this report, researchers highlight

  • a scan of the field with summary inventory of opportunity youth programs of CUMU member institutions
  • survey results of opportunity youth program participants
  • a case study analysis of six opportunity youth programs at CUMU member institutions

CUMU is proud to partner with Cleveland State University to implement this research project and is grateful to the Annie E. Casey Foundation for their advocacy and financial support that makes this research possible.


For more information about this report see: https://www.cumuonline.org/cumu-initiatives/opportunity-youth-research/.