Skip Navigation Dalio Education logo

Foreword from CTOP Portfolio Directors

In October 2023, a report prepared by the Boston Consulting Group and published by Dalio Education revealed an unspoken crisis in Connecticut: 119,000 young people ages 14 to 26 are at risk of dropping out of high school or are disconnected from work and school entirely in our state, one of the wealthiest in the country. But we know disconnection is a crisis affecting young people beyond Connecticut as well.

As a parallel research project to inform efforts in our home state and elsewhere to change these outcomes, the Connecticut Opportunity Project (CTOP), a social investment fund of Dalio Education, commissioned MDRC to undertake a scan of programs, practices, and policies across the country that help or hinder young people in reconnecting to school and work. Focused specifically on young people who are disconnected and reluctant to actively seek support, as well as young people reconnecting to school and work following incarceration, this report identifies characteristics and implementation practices of promising programs as well as challenges and opportunities in the policy arena most relevant to helping young people transform their lives.

This report affirms many realities CTOP sees in our work of investing in and helping to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, including the urgent issue that there are not nearly enough programs serving the young people who are the focus of this report, nor sufficient funding available to meet the true cost of providing the services required to address the complex barriers they face.

We anticipate that many of the strategies, implementation practices, and policies highlighted in this report will resonate with practitioners dedicated to working with young people who are disconnected. Our hope is that elevating good work being done around the country can yield improvements in program implementation and policy adoption, and inspire a growing commitment of resources and funding to this work—all in furtherance of better outcomes for young people who cannot afford to wait a moment longer for support that has been promised but not yet delivered by the systems that serve them.

Adhlere Coffy, Samantha Miller, & Amanda Olberg

Portfolio Directors, CTOP