Older Youth

About Older Youth

Older youth have different needs than younger youth and statewide afterschool networks are uniquely positioned to support them. The main issues with older youth involve credit recovery and reengaging dropouts. Afterschool and expanded learning is a great reentry point for disengaged youth and networks can act as pathways back into credit-bearing learning.

Key Information

  • Afterschool and expanded learning provides wrap-around support services to youth who may have special needs or few supports on their own.
  • Afterschool program recruitment and retention for older youth is increased when programs are intentionally linked to career- and work-related skills.
  • Creating opportunities to employ youth that are being served in afterschool and expanded learning programs increases the likelihood of program recruitment and retention.

Strategies to Support Older Youth

  • Provide access to school buildings and transportation beyond the school day or year to offer expanded learning opportunities through community education, community organizations and through school staff.
  • Improve program quality by developing agreements and tools to share and coordinate data between expanded learning and schools.
  • Identify and address barriers to optimize resources.
  • Encourage youth participation in planning and decisionmaking efforts.

General Publications

The report details four strategies to better support "Opportunity Youth" (youth ages 16-24 not connected to education or jobs).
Sustaining the interest of older youth in learning is particularly critical given that nearly one in four students fails to graduate from high school on time.
This paper makes the case for a more systemic alignment of high school reform and out-of-school time initiatives.

Network Publications

Research on recruiting and retaining youth into out-of-school time programs indicates that youth may be interested in career-related activities.
A policy report which aims to align and connect learning opportunities in the classroom with those in the community.
Out-of-school time programs across Pennsylvania are looking for ways to improve their recruitment and retention efforts and attract older youth to their programs.


Effective youth leadership programs build on solid youth development principles with an emphasis on supporting youth leadership.