The Connecticut Opportunity Project’s mission is to invest in and help strengthen youth-serving organizations in Connecticut so they can work effectively, reliably, and sustainably with young people ages 14 to 22 who are disengaged or disconnected in order to help them re-engage in and complete secondary education, then transition successfully to the pursuit of post-secondary education, such as a technical certification, military enlistment, or an academic degree – with the ultimate goal that all young people will achieve satisfying employment that supports their agency and self-sufficiency.
Youth-serving non-profit organizations play a critical role in reaching young people who have dropped out of high school, or who are at the highest risk for doing so, and helping them re-connect to education and opportunity. Yet most non-profits struggle to succeed because they lack access to unrestricted, substantial, long-term funding and outside expertise to support them in focusing on their missions and building the capacities and competencies required to do excellent and highly effective work. Without access to these critical ingredients for success, Connecticut’s youth-serving organizations struggle and will continue to struggle to produce positive, long-term outcomes for young people who are disengaged or disconnected despite their passion for and commitment to the work.
The Opportunity Project is designed in response to these challenges. We strive to support youth-serving organizations in Connecticut in working more effectively, reliably, and sustainably with young people who are disengaged or disconnected, so that they can achieve measurable improvements in young people's lives and prospects.
Over time, the Opportunity Project has continued to sharpen its theory of change and developed a youth development social investment strategy aligned to its mission. The 10-year goals of the Opportunity Project’s strategy are:
- Increase the number of active service slots1 in youth-serving organizations working effectively, reliably, and sustainably with young people who are disengaged or disconnected from 0 to 1,250 within 5 years and to 2,500 within 10 years.
- Achieve measurable improvements in young people’s lives and prospects – specifically, in their re-engaging in and completing secondary level education and successful and sustained participation in the labor market.
- Contribute to advancing ethnic & racial equity by working to address systemic racism and structural inequities that intensify challenges for disengaged and disconnected youth who identify as Black or Latinx.
1 In an active service slot, a target population youth receives the appropriate quality and dosage of service(s) called for in the organization's theory of change.