How might we support young people to pursue interest-driven pathways that go beyond a single program experience?

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About this toolkit

Brokering Youth Pathways was created to share tools and techniques around the youth development practice of “brokering” or connecting youth to future learning opportunities and resources.

This toolkit shares ways in which various out-of-school educators and professionals have approached the challenge of brokering. We provide a framework, practice briefs and reports that focus on a particular issue or challenge and provide concrete examples, as well as illustrate how our partners worked through designing new brokering routines in partnership with our research team.

We invite you to use the toolkit to help develop insights for your organization, discover techniques you might try to help broker opportunities to youth, or inspire your own process of exploring how teens and learning opportunities get connected in your context.

What is brokering and why is it an important idea?

“Brokering” is an important equity-oriented practice that out-of-school-time (OST) educators can take up in support of youth learning and development. Brokering is means of supporting identity development, social capital building and long-term, interest-driven learning across settings through actively connecting program participants to new learning opportunities like out of school programs, internships, events like hack jams and meet-ups, and more. Common brokering practices include: an educator telling a young person about an opportunity and encouraging them to sign up, posting flyers, and organizing a field trip for young people to learn about a new organization or site.

Understanding how to broker successfully is important because it can help young people deepen their interests and the identities connected to those interests, as well as build their social capital by enriching their social networks with other adults and peers that are connected to or have knowledge of future learning opportunities.

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