Older Youth

Successful transition to adulthood can be difficult, even in the best of circumstances. For many Maine youth, the teenage years are even more challenging because of serious economic, family or life issues.

These young people often need additional help to successfully navigate their way to educational success, financial stability, independence and well-being.

At the John T. Gorman Foundation, we believe the best way to help more youth successfully transition to adulthood is to take a targeted and comprehensive approach to supporting those who face such significant challenges, often without guidance from a caring adult in their lives.

Where we are and where we need to be

All Maine youth should have the opportunity to succeed. Yet disadvantaged Maine youth often struggle to meet important milestones for long term success.

In Maine there is a 17 percent graduation gap between students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch and those who are not (78% vs 95%). And young people who fail to complete high school face a tremendous uphill battle – by 2018 Maine is projected to rank next to worst in the nation in jobs available for those who have not completed at least a high school degree.

Even Maine's young people who graduate high school and  pursue further education experience struggles: only 48% of those who enroll in higher learning complete their degree on time, the lowest rate in New England. Yet by 2018, nearly 60% of available jobs in Maine will require post-secondary education.

Through our work in this area, we hope to see more vulnerable Maine youth (ages 16-24):

  • Employed and/or in school
  • Graduating from high school
  • Attaining post-secondary degrees or certificates

How we do our work

The Foundation partners with communities, advocates and leaders in the nonprofit, public and private sectors to:

  • Support institutions to implement best practices that can improve student retention
  • Use best practice models to build better pathways to post-secondary completion
  • Connect vulnerable youth to supportive adults and basic resources and services

We direct our resources to strategies that:

  • Are focused on key transition points in a young person’s life
  • Promote collaboration, particularly among high schools, colleges, businesses, nonprofits and public agencies
  • Can connect more vulnerable young people to resources and supports that can help them complete their education and connect to the workforce

Read more about The John T. Gorman's focus on older youth here.

Older Youth Resources

White House Paper on Opportunity Youth

White House Paper on Opportunity Youth

The White House Council for Community Solutions conducted extensive research and outreach to learn about community collaboration and pathways to employment for youth. On June 4, 2012 the Council presented its Final Report and Recommendations to the President via the White House Paper on Opportunity Youth. View Resource
Don't Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young People Who Leave High School Before Graduation

Don't Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young People Who Leave High School Before Graduation

The Center for Promise research team traveled across the country to investigate these initial research questions: What do young people say about why they leave high school before graduating? What circumstances surrounded the decision to leave? What were students' lives like when they left school, and what effects did leaving school have on them and their families? Why do young people say they come back to school? What opportunities do young people have to re-engage after leaving school, and what barriers do they encounter along the way? View Resource

Maine High School Graduates: Trends in College - Going, Persistence, and Completion

Maine High School Graduates: Trends in College - Going, Persistence, and Completion

In partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse, the Mitchell Institute distributes detailed reports on recent graduates’ college enrollment trends to all Maine public high schools. We also aggregate these data into state and regional estimates to provide context and inform policymakers and the public about these trends. View Resource

View all Older Youth Resources


Recent Grants

Jobs for Maine Graduates, Augusta $360,000 to expand the Opportunity Passport asset-building program in Maine to vulnerable older youth who are not in the foster care system.

Penobscot East Resource Center, Stonington $300,000 to expand the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, allowing PERC to further embed the program curriculum into the schools.

Southern Maine Community College Foundation, South Portland $39,800 to support the MySuccess program, which provides a cohort of graduates of Portland Public Schools who attend SMCC with comprehensive personal and financial support, and a carefully guided college transition experience.

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