Opportunity Youth

Made in Durham’s Durham Futures initiative mobilizes community partners to align strategies that support “opportunity youth” – those who are disconnected from school and work – ages 14-24 earn high school diplomas or equivalent credentials and transition to and persist in a post-secondary degree or credentialing program that qualifies them for life-sustaining work.

Partners pilot academic and social supports for students who attend four alternative education programs: Achievement Academy of Durham, Gateway to College at Durham Technical Community College, Performance Learning Center at Durham Public Schools, and Durham Literacy Center’s Youth Education Program.


Develop a clear sequence of steps by which young people who are behind or disconnected from school or work can complete high school and post-secondary education and secure living-wage work.

Action Steps

  1. Pilot a support system for 250 opportunity youth who attend four alternative education programs.
  2. Develop and implement a strategy to reengage and serve disconnected youth.
  3. Pursue public policies that enable and support opportunity youth.


Achievement Academy of Durham

Duke Energy Foundation

Durham Literacy Center

Durham Public Schools

  • Performance Learning Center
  • Student Support Services

Durham Technical Community College

  • College and Career Readiness
  • Human Resource Department
  • Gateway to College

Life Skills Foundation

N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development

United Way of the Greater Triangle


Valerie D. Anderson, Ph.D.
Youth Transitions Strategist



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Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, nonprofits, youth and young adults mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a postsecondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.
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