Publication Date



Policy Paper No. 2015-018




An estimated 6.7 million individuals in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24 and are not employed, not in school, and have not earned a postsecondary credential. This paper examines the extent to which sectoral initiatives, which operate on the demand side of the labor market, can play a role in facilitating pathways into productive careers for these individuals, who we refer to in the paper as opportunity youth (OY). It is mainly a review of the literature about the effectiveness of workforce development sectoral initiatives and other programs specifically focused on OY. It first reviews a number of sectoral initiatives in the United States. It then turns to (mainly supply-side) programs funded at the local, state, or federal level that involve employers and are aimed at improving employment opportunities for youth. Lastly, it reviews programs outside the United States. The final section of the paper presents policy recommendations about how sectoral initiatives may be involved in solving the workforce issues of OY.

Issue Date

December 10, 2014


The Rockefeller Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts

Subject Areas

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Public training programs; On the job training; Apprenticeship training




Hollenbeck, Kevin. 2014. "The Role of Sectoral Initiatives in Solving the Employment Problems of Opportunity Youth." Policy Paper No. 2015-018. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.