How To Help Out-of-School Youth Find Passion and Career


• Mentors can help out-of-school youth gain the necessary skills and confidence to build a successful career. 

• Learning institutions offer important resources such as college readiness courses, internships, and job training programs. 

• Performing arts institutions provide students with an opportunity to explore their passion for music, theatre, or dance. 

• Technical and trade schools equip young people with the skills they need to enter the rapidly expanding fields of manufacturing, engineering, and technology. 

• Job training activities should include teaching interview techniques, computer literacy basics, and helping youth develop good resume-writing skills. 

Out-of-school youth are a vulnerable population in many communities. With no clear path to success, this group of young people often faces significant economic and social obstacles. But with the right resources, they can find their passion and develop the skills they need to build meaningful careers. Here’s how those in the nonprofit sector and community volunteers can help these vulnerable young people create successful futures.

Unlocking Potential Through Mentorship

Mentors can be powerful allies to out-of-school youth, providing guidance, support, and accountability. A mentor serves as an inspirational role model who can introduce young people to potential career paths and offer them advice on how to navigate their way through life’s unexpected challenges. 

Mentors also provide real-world experience that out-of-school youth may not otherwise have access to. For instance, working with a mentor can help youth gain confidence and skills in areas such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution.

By engaging with mentors, these young people gain a better understanding of their interests and strengths, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their future career plans. If possible, mentors should also be able to connect their mentees with job opportunities or internships that can help them gain valuable work experience and exposure to possible career paths.

female mentor talking to young woman listening intently while smiling

Partnering With Learning Institutions

Learning Institutions can also provide important resources to out-of-school youth, such as academic counseling and college readiness courses. These institutions can facilitate internship programs that give young people hands-on experience in their desired fields. Here are some institutions to connect with:

Colleges and Universities

Educational institutions like colleges and universities provide invaluable resources for out-of-school youth. By offering courses, internships, and counseling, these institutions can help young people gain the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career path that is meaningful to them.

Performing Arts Institutions

For youth who are not into traditional academic settings, a good performing arts academy is an excellent option. These institutions provide students with an opportunity to explore their passion for music, theatre, or dance. Through focused instruction and practice, these young people can hone their talents while developing valuable skills such as discipline, creativity, and collaboration.

Technical and Trade Schools

Technical and trade schools can also be a good fit for out-of-school youth. These institutions provide students with the skills they need to enter the rapidly expanding fields of manufacturing, engineering, and technology. By gaining hands-on experience in these areas, out-of-school youth can gain valuable knowledge that can help them secure good jobs in the future.

young woman with safety goggles operating a drill machine in a trade or technical school

Job Training & Skill Development

Giving out-of-school youth access to job training programs is another essential component of helping them find a meaningful career path. These courses provide practical skills that equip young people with the know-how they need to get hired and excel in the workplace. Examples of common job training activities include:

Teaching Interview Techniques

The importance of job training and skill development for out-of-school youth cannot be overstated. It equips young people with the tools they need to get hired, from teaching interview techniques to helping them develop good resume-writing skills. Job training also gives out-of-school youth access to invaluable guidance on how to handle different job-seeking scenarios.

Computer Literacy Basics

Computer literacy is a key skill for out-of-school youth. In today’s highly digital world, young people must be equipped with the basics of using computers in order to have any chance at success. Job training should include computer literacy skills such as web design and development, word processing software, and other popular applications.

Creating Career Pathways

To support out-of-school youth in finding meaningful career paths, nonprofits and volunteers should also look for ways to create career pathways. These can include connecting young people with local businesses that offer internships or apprenticeships, offering job shadowing programs, and helping them gain access to professional development opportunities.

Out-of-school youth are a vulnerable population with many challenges to overcome. However, by providing them with access to mentorship programs, learning institutions, job training, and skill development opportunities, as well as creating career pathways for them, it’s possible to help this group of young people find their passion and develop the skills they need to build meaningful careers. In other words, nonprofits and community volunteers have an important role in helping out-of-school youth create successful futures.

The Author:


Scroll to Top