Many adults understand that the career and educational opportunities they had when they were younger helped shape the trajectory of their career and their lives. Young people experiencing poverty often come of age in “opportunity deserts;” without a roadmap for building a successful future.

United Way sees this as a massive missed opportunity. Having a clear view of a career allows young people to avoid poverty later in life and creates a more skilled workforce that powers a thriving economy.

crafting a new approach

To make good on this opportunity, United Way has designed a new initiative called Launch. Launch is an innovative coalition of partners who can recruit and coach young adults as they navigate the many workforce, college, and career resources available to them. Launch leverages youth development best practices to identify and recruit young people typically overlooked for services. They then connect with an existing network of workforce development and college access programming.

The result: a pipeline of 360 young adults from Greater Boston and Lynn — with open doors to college and career pathways.

How Launch Works

United Way is working with a consortium of partners including JVS-Boston, Boston Private Industry Council, and the Lynn Family Success Center. Together, they target youth ages 18-24 who live in state-subsidized housing, giving them access to coaches who meet them where they are in life and help them develop an individualized educational and career plan. They identify what steps these young people need to take to achieve their personal goals, whether those are enrolling in a job training program, attending college, or finding a job. The coach continues to work with them as they make progress. Launch participants can also meet with a financial coach to help them build and maintain a budget, reduce their debt, or build credit so that they can save for emergencies and have assets for the future.

The program has been developed with generous support from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

To learn more, please contact Sam Zito at