Municipal Leadership for Disconnected Youth Phase I & II

With support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the YEF Institute launched the multi-phase Municipal Leadership for Disconnected Youth (MLDY) project in 2005 to help city leaders reengage older disconnected youth in education, employment and their communities.

In Phase I of the project, the Institute documented effective practices in city-led, cross-system collaboration for disconnected youth and launched the Municipal Network on Disconnected Youth (MNDY). The YEF Institute published an action kit on Reengaging Disconnected Youth and sponsored a leadership academy for representatives of 25 communities across the nation.

During MLDY Phase II, the Institute completed the case study research and published Beyond City Limits: Cross-System Collaboration to Reengage Disconnected Youth, which featured promising practices from the cities of Albany, N.Y., Boston, Corpus Christi, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and San José.

In 2007, the Institute launched the first MLDY technical assistance initiative to strengthen cross-system collaborative efforts to reengage disconnected youth in Denver, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; Newark, N.J.; Orlando, Fla.; Roanoke, Va.; and St. Louis, Mo. NLCI selected these cities after a rigorous review process as presenting the strongest commitment from the highest levels of leadership, solid understanding of local youth trends, and defined plans to build capacity for cross-system collaboration.

Over the course of a year, these cities received customized assistance from the YEF Institute in developing and implementing their local collaborative action plan and direct access to national experts on vulnerable youth in transition. As a group, they also benefited from opportunities for knowledge sharing, professional development and learning from exemplary models across the country.

  • Orlando focused its collaboration on transforming its most distressed neighborhood into a healthier place for children.
  • Newark launched regional Family Success Centers and explored strategies to enhance collaboration on behalf of older foster youth.
  • In Hartford, the city worked to increase capacity for its truancy initiative and Youth Violence Action Plan.
  • Roanoke focused on providing transportation options for disconnected youth needing vocational preparation and services.
  • St. Louis focused on developing new educational pathways for youth and integrating data systems to better track the city's success.
  • In Denver, the city mapped out multi-agency services to identify delivery gaps and reduce the local dropout rate.

A key partner in the third phase of the MLDY technical assistance initiative was the American Youth Policy Forum, which worked with NLC to plan a series of field trips for mayors, superintendents and agency directors to help them learn about model approaches for reaching struggling students and out-of-school youth.

A fourth phase of the initiative was recently launched to help cities enhance infrastructures and data systems that support cross-system collaboration for disconnected youth.