News & Research
Youth and Key Leaders Stress Need for Mentoring at White House Event
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - The recently-released White House Council for Community Solutions’ final report to President Obama cites youth mentoring as one of the key recommendations to help disconnected youth so they can get on a path to education, employment and economic prosperity.
Throughout the report briefing event, from Council member Jon Bon Jovi to Director of the President’s National Economic Council Gene Sperling to a host of the youth panelists, the overriding need for mentors was expressed. Bon Jovi said of one of the Council’s findings in listening to the voices of young people, “Mentors ... something all of us can be ... are a key to what youth need.”
Established in 2010, the White House Council for Community Solutions has engaged a diverse group of prominent cross-sector leaders focused on helping “disconnected youth” by:
- Connecting, convening and catalyzing the best resources of the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in communities across the country.
- Identifying and highlighting solutions that work.
- Identifying key attributes of effective cross-sector solutions from institutions working together on community problems.
- Catalyzing resources to support effective community-based solutions.
MENTOR’s President and CEO David Shapiro was one of the national leaders working with the Council to find solutions for re-engagement. At least 6.7 million young people between 16 and 24 are out of school and the workforce. In 2011 alone, taxpayers shouldered $93 billion in direct and indirect costs related to these young people, according to the report.
The Council completed three phases of work leading to the final report and recommendations, including research, listening and developing new resources. One striking figure from the research was the almost 80 percent of disconnected youth who said they want to connect with successful peers they can relate to, to college professors and to business mentors to get help going back to school and work.
In response, the U.S. Department of Education has posted an RFI (Request for Information), asking states, tribal governments, local entities, community-based and other nonprofit organizations, private-sector partners, philanthropic organizations, faith-based organizations, researchers and others for input on effective approaches to improve outcomes for disconnected youth. Due by July 5, the input will inform the Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth on the best use of the authority requested in the President’s FY 2013 Budget for as many as 13 Performance Partnership Pilots.
“Job number one is to develop the assets in young people to support their connection, achievement and sense of self so that they stay connected to school and, ultimately, to work. This is the true moral and economic imperative, and time and time again, mentoring is a critical ingredient in staying on track and thriving,” said Shapiro. “But when our young people find themselves off track, yet searching for a way forward, the Council and a larger audience heard them express the need for mentors to enter their lives to help them find that path. It is a solution that must be backed with more than hope. It requires rigor and structure, and we will seek to promote and garner support for effective mentoring strategies that answer the call of our young people and the Council.”
To read the White House Council for Community Solutions’ final report, go to www.serve.gov/council_home. To read about the RFI regarding the Performance Partnership Pilots, click here. For more information and resources on quality youth mentoring, as well as MENTOR’s network of Mentoring Partnerships, visit www.mentoring.org.
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