Institute for Youth, Education and Families

The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families is the go-to place for city leaders seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. With expertise in early childhood success, education & expanded learning, promoting a culture of health, youth & young adult connections, and economic opportunity & financial empowerment, the YEF Institute reaches cities of all sizes and brings together local leaders to develop strategies via technical assistance projects, peer learning networks, leadership academies, and Mayors’ Institutes.

Featured Opportunity: Healthy People and Thriving Communities

Cities of Opportunity are places where all residents can reach their full potential and live healthy, productive and fulfilling lives as part of a thriving community. City leaders are uniquely positioned to advance cross-cutting approaches that address underlying factors affecting the health of all of their residents and the vibrancy of their city.  NLC invites city leaders to join Cities of Opportunity, a new initiative to make transformative policies and systems change for Healthy People and Thriving Communities. With the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this new 12-month technical assistance initiative will help city teams take a comprehensive approach to address factors that affect how long we live and how well we live. The deadline for applications is August 30. Learn more and apply today.


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Featured Opportunity: Cities Addressing Basic Needs to Improve Postsecondary and Workforce Success

NLC, with generous support from The Kresge Foundation, invites mayors and key community stakeholders to be part of local multi-sector teams to address barriers that prevent city residents from obtaining postsecondary degrees or certificates. Food and housing insecurity, childcare, transportation and, in some instances, mental health issues are often cited as challenges that can prevent young people’s success in attaining postsecondary credentials. Resources to help students meet basic needs are essential to increase the odds that they will persist through graduation to attain their degree or credential. The deadline for applications is September 13. Learn more and apply today.


Education and Expanded Learning

A skilled and educated workforce is increasingly vital to a community’s economic vitality. Even when city officials do not play a direct role in governing their school systems, there are numerous ways in which they can exercise leadership to support public schools, expand alternatives for students who struggle in traditional educational settings, increase high school graduation rates, and promote college access and completion.  

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Health and Wellness

Mayors and city leaders play a pivotal role in the overall health and well-being of the cities and towns they serve. With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NLC leads an effort to educate, train and build the capacity of city leaders to address the social determinants of health and improve health outcomes where individuals live, learn, work and play.  From seeding promising practices and innovative approaches to leading cross-sector initiatives, NLC will engage mayors and city leaders in problem-solving sessions, training, and peer-learning networks to ensure health is a key factor in their decisions across a range of issues including education, early childhood, housing, land use, transportation, and community development.

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Youth & Young Adult Connections

NLC supports and informs city leaders and stakeholders interested in improving public safety and reforming the juvenile justice system. We also provide peer learning and support to the growing number of citywide programs reconnecting young people to school.

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Early Childhood Success

Research shows a critical period of child development is birth to age 8, not just physiologically, but also cognitively, emotionally, and socially, setting the basis for future health and wellbeing. Children are cities’ future and city leaders are well positioned to champion the needs of young children and families. NLC is working with city leaders to align early childhood systems, improve quality and access, ensure every child enters school ready to learn, and ultimately reaches their full potential.

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Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment

City leaders can help families and neighborhoods become more economically secure by connecting children and families to public benefits and helping families learn financial skills, save for emergencies and the future and invest in assets that generate wealth and income.

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Strong Southern Communities Initiative (SSCI)

The Strong Southern Communities Initiative is designed to provide practical help and advice to municipal leaders in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. It brings together local elected officials from across the region who want to improve outcomes for children and families, enabling them to share ideas and discuss the challenges facing their communities.

In addition, SSCI helps participating mayors and city councilmembers develop local action plans based on their unique circumstances and needs, and then connects city leaders to national experts and regional partners who can help them implement those plans.

Click here to read more about the Strong Southern Communities Initiative and sign the pledge form.

Authentic Youth Civic Engagement

One of the basics of ensuring your city is meeting the needs of its young people is to actively and authentically engage your local youth in the process. This set of youth engagement tools will help city leaders start or expand these efforts locally.

Authentic youth civic engagement provides young people meaningful opportunities to contribute their experiences, knowledge and solutions to city issues.

The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has developed a new set of resources elected officials from cities, towns and villages of any size can use to establish meaningful connections with the youth of their communities.

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