Bellis, D. D., & General, A. O. (2005). Youth Opportunity grants: Lessons can be learned from program, but Labor needs to make data available. Washington, DC: Government Accountability Office.
- This report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) summarizes the findings of a descriptive study of Youth Opportunity Grants. The 36 grants issued under this program, which began in 2000 and continued for five years, aimed to expand opportunities for at-risk youth in low-income areas by providing a variety of support services.
- The study explored how the grants were implemented, key barriers faced during implementation, and perceptions of the outcomes of the program and its impact on participating youth and their communities.
- To answer its research questions, the GAO conducted a survey with 36 Youth Opportunity Grant program directors and seven site visits. The site visits included interviews with program managers and staff, youth participants, and community members; facilities tours; observations of program activities; and collection of management information systems data.
- The study found that grantees adopted a variety of approaches to recruiting and serving at-risk youth, often responding to conditions in their local labor markets. However, many faced challenges in rolling out the program within the set time frames; addressing drug use, violence and unemployment in their communities; and adapting their services for youth struggling at school or with problems at home. Many program participants graduated from high school, enrolled in college, or joined the workforce after receiving Youth Opportunity Grant services.
- The GAO recommended that the Department of Labor complete the impact analysis of the Youth Opportunity Grant program and release all related reports and data.
Youth Opportunity Grant Initiative