BY EMMA PEPPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, THE HUB
What are the conditions needed for young people in our communities to hop on and climb up the economic ladder?
The National 4‑H Council and The Bridgespan Group teamed up to take an in-depth look at this issue, and West Virginian communities stand to benefit from their work.
The two groups have published a report, “Social Mobility in Rural America,” wherein they site six factors that have the potential to support upward mobility for young people:
- A high expectation that youth will “opt in” and work hard to acquire the skills to build a better future; a low tolerance for opting out
- Strong, informal support systems, with neighbors helping neighbors
- An early focus on career pathways
- A wealth of opportunities for youth to build life skills, regardless of the community’s size
- Many potential challenges to accessing opportunities, but creative solutions for overcoming them
- A sense of shared fate and a deep commitment to sustaining the community