Improving Youth Programs and Outcomes in Washington, D.C.

December 10, 2014

pepnet coverIn 2013, a cohort of youth-serving nonprofits in Washington, D.C. completed a self-assessment and quality improvement process led by the National Youth Employment Coalition. 

The nonprofits, all of which provide education, training, and employment-related services to young people aged 14 to 24, assessed themselves against a set of quality standards and identified data collection, data analysis, and performance management as areas for improvement. In response, the nonprofits developed performance improvement plans and expressed interest in continuing the dialogue about how to improve programs and measure progress toward the goal of preparing young people for employment and career advancement. 

However, nonprofit organizations do not operate in a vacuum; they are one part of a broader ecosystem of funders, policymakers, and other service providers. Accordingly, this paper’s recommendations to improve youth employment services and outcomes involve an array of stakeholders: Funders, public and private, and direct service providers should co-invest in performance management and quality improvement at the organizational level, and should also work together to develop a more coherent youth employment system based on a career pathways framework.