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Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative

The Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative (DOYI) launched in 2012 and works to expand employment and education pathways and opportunities to Denver Opportunity Youth – nearly 9,000 ages 16-24 are not in school and not working.

Colorado Youth for a Change proudly took the lead as the backbone organization in 2022, convening the following sectors to achieve better educational and employment outcomes alongside young people: nonprofit, government, business, and K-12 and higher education institutions.

Our Partners

The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions promotes collaborative, community-based efforts that build the power and influence of those with the least access to opportunity. They support communities to come together to expand mobility, eliminate systemic barriers, and determine their own solutions to their most pressing challenges.

Local partners include:

  • Colorado Department of Education
  • Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Colorado Youth for a Change – Reengagement Program
  • Denver Economic Development & Opportunity at the City and County of Denver
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Inclusive Design Group
  • Innovate+Educate
  • Mile High Youth Corps
  • Public Safety Youth Programs at the City and County of Denver
  • Young Aspiring Americans for Social & Political Activism (YAASPA)

The Data

The Opportunity Youth Forum Common Measures are a set of four metrics to assess the overall opportunity youth disconnection rate, and the disconnection rates for high school, post-secondary and workforce annually at the population level using the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Common Measures provide a unique annual look into our community’s opportunity youth data and help to track progress and inform strategies.

updated OY chart 1

Opportunity Youth Across the Country (resource)

Research by Opportunity Youth initiatives elsewhere in the U.S. has revealed that 2021 youth disconnection rates across all OYF communities have generally not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Though the rate of young people experiencing disconnection dropped from 2017 to 2019, 2021 rates were mostly at or above 2017 rates.

To get involved or learn more, contact Julia Hughes at or (303) 304-6155.

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