Pathways to High School Diploma & Beyond

You have the right to enroll in public education until age 21 or you earn a diploma.

There are many ways to earn a high school credential and prepare for college or a career. The most common path is to attend a four-year public high school. However, there are other ways for students who want to graduate in less than four years, who have fallen behind on credits, or want to pair their education with job training or employment. In this guide, learn about the different pathways to high school and beyond.

Pathways to High School Credential June 30 2021

Your educational goals are important! With so many choices, it can be hard to know which is the best choice for you. For assistance, contact one of these local programs or resources.

Louisville Youth Network
A network of organizations are available to help young people find their path to school, work, and services. For help finding the right path for you, connect with a navigator through their website: www.LouisvilleYouthNetwork.org or call 502-230-2028.

15,000 Degrees
Pathways to Education Coaching Support – to assist African-American students with academic and life support to finish high school and work with them to create realistic goals for college and career readiness.  Scholarships for college, mentoring and coaching support available.  Please call (502) 224-1923.

Jefferson SkillsU Reengagement
JCPS Staff can check your transcript and let you know the courses you need to graduate. They can also connect you with the program that works for you. Call (502)977-8913 or (502)977-8974.

Kentucky Youth Career Center
KYCC case managers and career planners are available to help find the best way to reach your education and career goals. Call (502) 574-4115 or (502) 388-3010.

School Staff
Reach out to the counselor at the last school attended for more information about the options available to you. Schools are looking for ways to help students so the path to graduation may be shorter than you think.

Welcome Darryl Young, Jr. as CSYA New Executive Director

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, March 17, 2021) —The Coalition Supporting Young Adults (CSYA) has hired Darryl Young, Jr. as the organization’s first Executive Director.

Darryl comes to CSYA from the Muhammad Ali Center, where he served for four years as the Program Manager. There, Darryl implemented and expanded the Center’s youth engagement programs, strengthened community relationships, and secured grants for new programs. A 2012 graduate of the University of Louisville, Darryl is co-chair of the One Love Louisville Initiative, a Co-Facilitator of the Racial Healers Training through the child welfare system, a founding Associate Board member at Nativity Academy, and a 40 Under 40 Honoree.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to do this very important work,” said Darryl. “I look forward to working with community partners to support this deserving population of young people.”

CSYA was initiated by the Coalition for the Homeless in 2012 as a collective action initiative of organizations who share the goal of transforming how Louisville supports vulnerable youth and young adults. With the current health, economic, and social justice crises in Louisville, it is estimated as many as one in four young people in Louisville (aged 16-24) are not engaged in education or employment, and the disparity between the disconnection of Black youth and white youth in Louisville is the worst in the country.

With the hiring of Darryl as the inaugural Executive Director and the generous support of our funding partners Louisville Metro, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, and the Junior League of Louisville, CSYA is entering the next phase of the organization’s growth. This year, CSYA is working with YouthBuild Louisville, Louisville Urban League, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, and Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development to expand and link the network of supports for Louisville’s young people (aged 16 to 24) who are not in school or work, or simply need more support.

“Darryl brings years of experience working with young people and is intentional about centering youth voice,” said Nikki Thornton, Board Chair. “His diverse networks will help to expand the collective actions that are essential for CSYA’s continued growth. Darryl is a true asset to the organization and I’m thrilled to work in partnership with him.”

CSYA’s work is rooted in the need for systemic change, and centers their work by listening to directly impacted young people, advocating alongside them for their success, and connecting them with programs and opportunities. To get involved with CSYA, contact Darryl at dyoung@csyalouisville.org.

CSYA Welcomes New Network Coordinator

Brittany Brown, CSYA Network Coordinator

CSYA is proud to announce our new Network Coordinator, Brittany Brown. Brittany joins the organization having most recently worked in the healthcare sector within community engagement and outreach. There, Brittany created relationships with community partners to connect individuals to social services and remove barriers to health. Brittany is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and an Associate Board member of Coalition for the Homeless, where she serves as Membership, Diversity, and Inclusion Co-Chair. As Network Coordinator, Brittany will be responsible for managing relationships, coordinating workgroups, and handling CSYA’s communications.

"I am very excited to be joining the team. I look forward to connecting with existing partners, engaging new ones, and supporting this work," Brittany said.

Kentucky Youth Career Center

The Kentucky Youth Career Center and REimage are currently offering an enrollment bonus ($25 e-gift card) for those who enroll in one of the programs. KYCC provides case management and supportive services for 18-24 year-old out-of-school youth seeking assistance with earning their GED, basic job skills, occupational certifications, paid internships, and more. Youth have access to supportive services such as TARC tickets/passes, funds for work- or education-related needs, and incentives for achieving goals. REimage provides the same services listed above, plus court-support, for justice-involved in- or out-of-school youth ages 16-24. Please reach out to www.wearekycc.org/contact or jennifer.welch@kentuckianaworks.org for more information. 

The Kentucky Youth Career Center is currently recruiting for our Internship Academy program. Internship Academy is a 10-week PAID internship program that pairs professional development and an internship in the youth’s field of interest. Youth earn $11.50 per hour for up to 30 hours per week while in the program, plus weekly bonuses. Youth must be 18-24 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and eligible for enrollment in KYCC. For more information, please reach out to www.wearekycc.org/contact or jennifer.welch@kentuckianaworks.org.
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Recovery Resources

An important part of recovery is knowing where to go for help. These online resources are useful for connecting…

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Resources and Support

Our mission is to provide support for people who are dealing with substance abuse and addiction. We do this through our comprehensive resources and guides, and connecting people with the right treatment programs.

Comprehensive Guide to Drugs on Campus

College students have greater access to drugs today than they’ve had in the past. With this availability comes the greater risk of students developing abusive habits during their college years.

Addressing Gun Violence in Louisville

July 2020

In our work with Louisville’s youth and young adults who are not in school or employed, CSYA member organizations have collectively walked with thousands of young people impacted by gun violence. These young people, some of our community’s most valuable yet vulnerable, have experienced homelessness, abuse and neglect, educational disruption, and persistent poverty.  Despite their innate capabilities and inspiring goals, many are marginalized by their experiences as children or the structural racism in the schools, courts, and other systems that have “served” them.

The Coalition Supporting Young Adults is focused on understanding and addressing the complex individual and systemic problems marginalized young people face in Louisville that can, and too often do, result in exposure to or involvement in violence.  Guided by the young people themselves, we have collectively identified several actions our community could take to address these issues.

  • Transition Louisville to a “Zero Detention” community, recognizing that young people with out-of-bounds behaviors need services, education, supportive adults, and another chance. We must dismantle the current School to Prison systems that push out and criminalize black and brown students and denies their right to an education.
  • Fund evidence-based programs designed specifically to help marginalized youth such as supportive and transitional housing, academic services, mental health services, mentoring, substance use treatment, career exploration, apprenticeships and other job training opportunities. Involve young people in the process of identifying these programs and evaluating their effectiveness.
  • Create committees on the Louisville Metro Council and the JCPS Board of Education that identify and address the policies and practices that marginalize and criminalize black and brown young people in our community. Ensure these committees use data and the voices of young people to inform their decisions and hold them accountable for ensuring their new policies are followed.
  • Create high-quality educational pathways to a high school diploma for marginalized students and those who are over-age and under-credited. Provide evidence-based supports that address the complex needs of students (flexible schedule, work-learn opportunities, postsecondary and college preparation, life skills development, advisors, and career exploration). 
  • Train Louisville’s law enforcement, court staff, front-line youth workers, program leaders, educators, funders, parents, decision makers and young people about the issues that lead to violence and that result from exposure to violence.

Structural racism and poverty are at the heart of most challenges young people who are impacted by violence face.  Addressing these issues will take a significant shift in thinking about marginalized young people, new policies and practices that recognize the unacceptable costs of leaving even one person behind, and a funding strategy from JCPS, Louisville Metro, and private foundations that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to preparing each young person for their future.

There are many ideas on the table – now is the time to move forward with intention and urgency. There are collective actions Louisville’s service providers, public agencies, educators, leaders, and adult advocates can take to transform the way we assist and advocate for our most vulnerable young people. Agreeing on the actions that are both achievable and effective will continue to be challenging and the Coalition Supporting Young Adults invites all community members – youth and adults – to join us in this important discussion.

Read Courier Journal Article on Gun Violence, July 2020

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Pew Report: Amid coronavirus outbreak, nearly three-in-ten young people are neither working nor in school

Pew Research, July 2020

BY RICHARD FRY AND AMANDA BARROSO

As COVID-19 cases have surged in the United States, young adults face a weakening labor market and an uncertain educational outlook. Between February and June 2020, the share of young adults who are neither enrolled in school nor employed – a measure some refer to as the “disconnection rate” – has more than doubled, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center. Most of the increase is related to job loss among young workers.

At the beginning of 2020, the share of Americans ages 16 to 24 who were “disconnected” from work and school mirrored rates from the previous year. But between March and April, the share jumped significantly, from 12% to 20%. By June 2020, 28% of youths were neither in school nor the workplace.

While not the highest on record, June’s 28% disconnection rate – which translates into 10.3 million young people – is the highest ever observed for the month of June, dating back to 1989 when the data first became available. This trend is one indicator of the difficulties young people are facing as they transition into adulthood during a global pandemic.

Read complete report….

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CSYA’s Strategies for Setting and Achieving Common Goals

The Coalition Supporting Young Adults creates and implements a shared agenda through eight key activities:

  1. Engage Young People as Decision Makers: Create opportunities for impacted youth to tell their stories, identify workable solutions, and develop advocacy and leadership skills. Fully integrate the Social Justice Youth Development Model into the processes used by CSYA to create change.
  2. Establish Collective Accountability: Lead the process of setting community-wide goals and tracking progress in an annual report to the community that includes current resources (program and fiscal map), progress toward benchmarks, indicators of education completion and housing stability, and recommendations for further action.
  3. Develop a Comprehensive Funding Strategy: Develop a cohesive plan that outlines funding priorities based on a fiscal map of current and potential resources committed to OY efforts from public and private, local and national funders. Establish relationships with potential funders and invite collaborative or targeted asks.
  4. Advocate for Policy Change: Identify public and education policies and procedures at local and state levels that inadvertently create barriers for disconnected youth. Mobilize young adults and the boarder community to advocate for changes, clarifications, or additions when needed.
  5. Professional Development: Train CSYA members’ staff on effective strategies for reconnecting young people to education, employment, housing, and other supports. Create opportunities for collaboration between organizations and identify potential partnerships that streamline or expand services.
  6. Expand community awareness of the issues and effective strategies impacting OY through media, speaking engagements, community conversations, and connections with other local, regional, and national initiatives.
  7. Create ongoing cross-agency work groups focused on improving the education, employment, housing, and health & wellness services and systems affecting OY. Membership on each work group include organizational decision-makers, frontline staff, and youth from “anchor” and related organizations.
  8. Promote best practice programs and services such as:
  • Emergency shelters with support to transition to stable housing and employment;
  • New pathways to education attainment for over age/under credit and other nontraditional learners;
  • A transportation navigator system equipped to open access to multiple options;
  • “No Wrong Door” network of services available at nontraditional times (nights, weekends);
  • Training of adults to advocate for access to education;
  • Career exploration and job coaching services;
  • Opportunities to “learn and earn” concurrently;
  • Additional supports for youth and young adults with special education needs, experiences with homelessness, or who have been involved in the child welfare system;
  • Connection to trained adult volunteers serving as anchors in a web of support.
  • Mental health supports, positive youth development, and trauma-informed care.
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Amplifying Youth Voices

Thursday, August 6, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Description

Join us to learn how PeaceCasters, a youth-led program housed within the Peace Education Program, empowers young people in middle and high school to share their stories with the world in order to create change through digital and social media.

Through their groundbreaking Youth Influencers curriculum, they support young leaders to be influencers on social media and in their communities by sharing stories from lived experience, practicing positive communication skills, and building community online and off. Their curriculum is based on three pillars: empowered storytelling, social media for social good, and online conflict resolution. The PeaceCasters program builds on Peace Education’s 37 years of experience training youth and adults to build and sustain positive relationships, bringing these essential skills into digital spaces and onto social media platforms.

Introducing Presenters

Lijah Fosl is a facilitator and program developer who uplifts young people through engaging, creative, and skill-based trainings that are built on a framework of anti-oppression and peer-to-peer leadership. At the Peace Education Program, they train youth and adults in conflict resolution, social media skills, empowered storytelling, peer mediation, and prejudice reduction. They helmed the development of the Youth Influencers curriculum for PeaceCasters, a program they joined at age 13.

Fernanda Scharfenberger, 17, is a Youth Facilitator with PeaceCasters who has steadily evolved as a leader since she joined as a participant in 2015. Fernanda is a powerful storyteller, and as a Youth Facilitator has helped develop our curriculum. She is an incoming Freshman at Centre College and one of the most effective and highly-praised youth activists in Louisville, holding leadership roles with the WE Day Mayor’s Youth Board, US Climate Strike, and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.

Watch the Webinar

Register for the Youth Influencers Camp

Register now for the first-ever VIRTUAL Youth Influencers Camp from PeaceCasters! Where young people come together to share stories, create powerful social media messages, and collaborate online in order to create real social change.

This 3-day virtual camp is for people of middle and high school age who are looking to get involved in movements for change and to use their voice to uplift and inspire others online. You’ll get to play games, practice using social media to interrupt violence and bullying, team up on real media projects, and learn from the stories of other young people who are changing the world through social media.

You’ll also be invited to join our online Discord community, where young leaders from all over the city connect to share calls to action, resolve conflicts peacefully, and help each other make creative media projects. Don’t miss your chance to meet, play and work with other awesome young leaders in Louisville!

This camp is FREE and is hosted in three 90-minute sessions on Zoom from 4:00–5:30 on Wednesday August 19th, Thursday August 20th, and Friday August 21st, 2020. Register now while spots are still open by clicking here!

You can email questions to Program Leader Lijah Fosl at Lijah@PeaceEducationProgram.

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Developing and Demonstrating Anti-racist Practices

Wednesday, July 1
2:00 -3:00 pm

Aishia A. Brown, PhD, University of Louisville
Nikki Thornton, True Up
Lacey McNary, McNary Group

How is racism showing up in your work with youth? Join us as advocates lifting youth voices for equity and resolutions.  There will be time for sharing your experiences, acknowledging where we are as a community, and establishing a vision for where we want to be.

CSYA Statement of Unity: The Coalition Supporting Young Adults is committed to transforming the way Louisville cares for vulnerable youth and young adults. Therefore, we stand in unity with our black and brown communities and allies who are vocalizing concerns and demands for equitable, anti-racist, and humane treatment and advancements. Furthermore, we commit to speaking up and addressing all forms of injustice, brutality, and discrimination. 

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