Career Pathways & Pipelines

When youth “disconnect” from school or the workforce, their limited education and work experience affect future earnings and health, and they double their likelihood of living in poverty. In addition, disconnected youth also have lower wages, higher rates of incarceration and unemployment, and their mental and physical health suffers.


Staying Connected to School

Youth who have access to programs that promote empowerment, mindfulness, and service-learning are more likely to connect to experiences that increase self-regulation, their value in the community, and exposure to career opportunities. Together with our partners, we fight for opportunities for disconnected youth by:

  • Increasing the number of youth participating in high-quality career-connected educational experiences that provide career exposure, strengthen social and emotional health, and help transition them from middle to high school successfully

In 2018-19, 8,547 individuals completed educational credentials or job training.

Education and Job Training

When youth are equipped with the skills they need to qualify for work that pays a family-sustaining wage, they take their first steps to self-sufficiency as adults. Exposure to career-connected education, learn-and-earn opportunities, apprenticeship programs, transitional and paid on-the-job training experiences create pathways to livable wages. Together with our partners, we fight for opportunities for our youth by:

  • Increasing the number of youth age 15-25 who complete education and job training that provide pathways to a career and future 

In 2018-19, our investments helped 3,774 adults improve job-readiness and gain employment. 



With more than 705,000 individuals living in poverty in our region, a focus on ensuring working adults are able to earn a family-sustaining wage is an essential part of our fight to end poverty. In Philadelphia alone, 22% of residents aged 25-64 are living in poverty. Twenty-five percent of these individuals are working, yet lack the learning opportunities and resources needed to benefit from recent job market expansion and economic development across the region.

One way United Way is addressing this community challenge is through the Job Opportunities Investment Network (JOIN) in partnership with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. JOIN is a collaborative of workforce development funders committed to fostering racial and social equity through inclusive community and economic development investments throughout the region.

JOIN's Impact

Robert Story


Robert grew up in foster care and lacked stability.

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youth aged 15–25 will reconnect to school or work with your support.


Bullied by schoolmates, Tatyana's attendance and grades began to suffer.

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Tiffany lacked access to books at home and school.

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Despite knowing that he wanted a better life, Anthony was arrested at age 14.

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When you give, you are helping us drive real, measurable change in this region; in the neighborhoods where we live, work and play. Join the movement to end poverty with a gift to support the Impact Fund.

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