A major issue for the nation is how to support positive experiences and learning for young people, and how to enable pathways for successful transition to independent adult roles. As the labor market has receded from young people, new social innovations are required for youth development. But on this important social challenge, the nation earns no better than a grade of D.
Far too many young Americans are detached from both education and labor markets. Far too many are in the criminal justice system. Far too many suffer from mental health problems, substance abuse, violence, and suicide. Far too many of the survivors do not have behaviors or technical skills that prepare them to earn a living. New institutions and opportunities for positive youth development are required. The Race and Opportunity Lab is designed to identify and connect institutions that offer positive opportunities for African American youth.