Youth need a place to convene within a community that understands what they are going through – a dynamic and encouraging environment where they can connect with people who care. The BCOYC will prototype and evolve a network of “Navigation Centers” that will serve as place-based hubs to help identify on- ramps, plan viable pathways to careers earning family-supporting wages, connect youth to each other, and to the resources they need to build momentum toward their goals. The Nav Centers will link youth with other youth who have had success in moving along the pathway to a successful future, and caring and informed adults working on their behalf.

At these local Nav Centers youth entrants will be paired with a “Pathway Navigator” who will work with youth to articulate the youth’s desires, assess skills, needs, and interests, and collaboratively create a personalized pathway for each engaged youth. The Pathway Navigators will be trained adults with a passion for helping youth succeed and the skills to connect youth to opportunities. Pathway Navigators will conduct confidential intake interviews and skills assessments to understand the needs and desires of the youth. They will help youth develop individualized pathways with concrete goals and benchmarks to help youth monitor their own progress. Pathway Navigators will be available to colleges and universities, businesses, and other training programs serving youth engaged along pathways.

There will be an expectation for all youth engaged in the process to regularly “cycle back” through the hub and other related programs to provide support to the community and other engaged youth, engage in outreach and engagement activities for youth and opportunities, support public awareness efforts, and engage in community service campaigns. Youth who have moved along their pathways and are ready to take on additional responsibilities can serve as “Peer Navigators” with whom each youth entrant will be connected. Together with the support from peers, adult personnel, and a network of representatives from business, education, City agencies, and non-profit organizations, the Navigation Centers will become a “community of purpose” helping youth navigate towards their immediate and long-term goals.