In 2003-2004, NPEF conducted a statewide education needs assessment to determine where to focus efforts to best meet the needs of Nevada’s students. It became clear that too many Nevada youth were leaving high school without graduating.
Research from Stanford University indicates that young people who are not “connected by 25” to education or employment are likely to remain disconnected throughout their lives, resulting in significant social and economic costs. During its 2004 strategic planning process, the NPEF Board committed to focus on helping youth become “ready for life” through successful transitions at each developmental stage during their educational careers in Nevada and beyond.
After more research and in collaboration with a steering committee of leaders and stakeholders, NPEF launched the Ready for Life Initiative in Clark County in November 2005. Using the same theory of local collaborative work, a holistic view of youth, and a focus on systemic change, NPEF awarded Churchill County a planning grant to launch Ready for Life in January 2007. This was followed by another Ready for Life planning grant to Washoe County in June 2007. NPEF continues to develop opportunities and partnerships to seed local Ready for Life collaboratives across Nevada, along with a statewide network to support and enhance the local collaborative work.
Ready for Life participating organizations believe that as they partner together to understand and address, in a holistic way, the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of youth and families, students will be more likely to graduate from high school and gain appropriate post-secondary education or training to become productive, contributing members of society.
Ready for Life facilitates activities to ensure that:
Ready for Life is connected with the national Youth Transition Funders Group focus on struggling students and out-of school youth, through their “Connected by 25” Strategic Assessment Grant Initiative.
Although developed out of a focus on disconnected youth ages 14-24, based on the “Connected by 25” research from Stanford University, Ready for Life values, recognizes, embraces, and supports prevention, intervention, and reengaging strategies at all ages. Of primary concern to Ready for Life are the following groups of youth, among which there is significant overlap: