Center for Youth and Communities

Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and ManagementReturn to this website's homepageBrandeis University

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From the Director

CurnanwStudentsIt is a great privilege and a great adventure to serve as Director of this university-based, community focused enterprise and I invite you to explore and discover the people, projects and mission that make it so.

The mission driven work of the Center – preparing youth for education, work and life – has stayed relevant over the past nearly 30 years as the broad field of youth and community development grew from an “emerging field” to a “maturing profession.”  Along the way, we have shaped policy and practice during six White House Administrations.  With deep roots and a legacy of evaluation research and capacity building projects in youth employment, education, service learning, college access, citizen leadership and community youth development, the Center is well positioned to address the next generation of challenges – and they are great. 

So, if you are a potential client scanning our website, dive into our archives and explore our people and projects to evaluate our qualifications and track record.  If you are a student or applicant to one of our degree programs, check out our teaching faculty and staff. If you are curious about how I came to this great place and why I do what I do, take a look at my article in the Brandeis Magazine titled "The View from Val-Kill: Walking in Eleanor Roosevelt’s scholarly footsteps."

"The Center for Youth and Communities: Making Knowledge Productive for 30+ Years"

About The Heller School MPP & MBA Program Concentration in Children, Youth & Families (CYF)
CYC Spotlight
Enough is Known for Action! Conference Focusing on Youth Employability

The invitational conference “Enough is Known for Action: Ready to Employ, Educate, and Support Youth”, in Washington, DC on November 13, 2014 featured a National Briefing and call-to-action planning sessions facilitated by the Brandeis team from the Center for Youth and Communities (CYC). A webcast recording will be available.

This briefing was made possible by the generous support of The Walmart Foundation, U.S. Dept. of Labor/ETA leadership, and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

“New England Higher Education Think Tanks transition to the Center for Youth and Communities”

The Center for Youth and Communities at the Heller School of Management and Social Policy is expanding upon its efforts to support large-scale systems change aimed at preparing young people for college, work, and life by offering a unique peer-to-peer professional development opportunity to academic practitioners in New England through the Brandeis Think Tanks. With the goal of revitalizing, enhancing, and expanding the Think Tank model, developed by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) in 1988, CYC will take on the leadership, management and facilitation of the Think Tanks. For more information, visit The Brandeis Think Tanks.

Director speaker for “Investing in Youth and the Community: Summer Youth Employment Programs and Partnerships”

The national webinar was sponsored by the Office of Family Assistance's Peer TA Network, which includes the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The webinar reached more than 300 participants on May 7, 2014. See the TANF website for more on the webinar and click here for the full presentation.
Susan P. Curnan’s presented the Center’s youth employability work with a focus on lessons learned from the Walmart investment in 10 cities and 8,500 young people.

Creating New Pathways to Postsecondary Education for Former Dropouts

With grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Social Innovation Fund, and New Profit, Inc., the Center is working with more than 30 national and local organizations to create a pathway to and through college for former dropouts by establishing partnerships between community-based education programs and community colleges.  Please see our latest report on the study, “Creating New Pathways to Postsecondary: Evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success (PSS) Initiative” (and Executive Summary).  (More about our work with the Gates Foundation.)

Where in the World IS the CYC Team

Check out the map of the communities where we are conducting projects!

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