United Way is working to disrupt intergenerational poverty by setting youth and young adults on a road to success. The Launch Initiative, which wrapped up in February 2023, offers a model that opens doors to college and career pathways where young people can achieve their goals and thrive.
In 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and United Way of Massachusetts Bay established the Launch Initiative to give opportunity youth living in subsidized housing in Greater Boston greater access to educational and career opportunities and upward economic mobility. Boston is home to nearly 5,000 opportunity youth–people ages 16-24 who are disconnected or under-connected from school and work.
Launch brought together a consortium of community based-partners, including Lynn Family Success Center, Beacon Communities, Metro Housing|Boston, WinnCompanies, Jewish Vocational Services-Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council, that provided high-quality integrated outreach, education, training, and job placements.
More than 500 young people had engaged with the initiative, increasing their awareness of the opportunities available to them, receiving the support necessary to pursue these opportunities, and setting and working toward their goals.
Launch demonstrated that by centering youth and young adult voices, breaking down financial and logistical barriers to education and career opportunities, and providing one-on-one support tailored to meet young people where they’re at on their life journey, together we can break the cycle of poverty and advance a more economically just region.