Reconnecting Youth

Supporting young people as they finish high school and plan for the future.

Support this program

There are 20,000 young people in King County, 16 to 24 years old, who left high school without a diploma and don’t have a stable job.

Young people leave high school and disconnect from their education for many reasons. 

In an education system that was largely designed for white, middle-class students, racial inequities, like disproportionate discipline rates or students not seeing themselves in their teachers (most teachers are white), create numerous barriers to success for students of color. 

Some students don’t get the support they need to succeed academically. Some miss too many days because they don’t have a stable home. Some get jobs to help support their families. Whatever the reason, their chances for success plummet when their education stalls.

Reconnecting Youth is a coordinated, community-wide approach to helping these young people complete their education and achieve viable career paths.


How It Works


When the program launched in 2015, there were a handful of unconnected programs in King County offering education reengagement services to youth. Only three of these programs were accessing state Open Doors funding, money that is set aside for students who have left school before completing high school.

There are now 15 reengagement partners drawing down Open Doors dollars and a number of additional partners providing complementary services at these sites. In all, the program has grown to more than 29 partners serving young people across the county, making it easy for youth to reconnect to their education wherever they live in a way that works for them.

Staff and partners provide some variation in style, fit and location, so that if one approach doesn’t work, participants can try another. All partners offer support built around these three key elements:

Two students sit on a bench outside. One is holding a book and they are both looking down at it.

1. 1:1 mentoring. Targeted, individualized support helps participants work towards their goals.

Student sits at a table in a classroom, is looking down and writing on a piece of paper.

2. Educational coaching. Participants receive tutoring and support during the enrollment, instruction and testing process of earning a GED.

group of students walk in a group.

3. Career navigation. Staff offer resources and support toward a career path. Many participants also get connected to internships and part-time jobs.

Flexible schedules and targeted support are what help make this program successful and, to serve more youth better, capacity has been increased in geographic areas where we’ve seen higher need.


Success to Date


Through Reconnecting Youth, every year thousands of young people are getting their education back on track.

2,821

youth served last year

53%

of students attaining credentials last year were students of color

16,386

total youth served since 2015

Ed stands outside of building looks at camera, and has his hands in the pocket of his hoodie sweatshirt

Meet E.D.–a Reconnecting Youth program participant that overcame multiple hurdles on his way to graduation.

Our Goal


Our goal is to engage half of the 20,000 eligible teens and young adults in King County. Helping these young people get back on track will transform lives and our community.



Reconnecting Youth Honor Roll

With support from these generous donors, we are helping young people reach high school completion, access post secondary education and get on a stable career path.

$1 Million +

  • The Ballmer Group
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Richard and Barrie Galanti

$500,000 — $999,999

  • The Boeing Company
  • Jobs For The Future/Social Innovation Fund
  • Blake and Molly Nordstrom
  • Bruce and Jeannie Nordstrom
  • Nordstrom
  • Satya & Rao Remala Foundation
  • Brad Smith and Kathy Surace-Smith

$250,000 — $499,999

  • Brettler Family Foundation
  • Farmers Life Insurance Co.
  • Jon Fine and Paula Selis
  • Brian McAndrews and Elise Holschuh
  • William and Sally Neukom
  • Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Charitable Foundation
  • Wells Fargo

$100,000 — $249,999

  • Anonymous
  • Alaska Airlines
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • Jon and Bobbe Bridge
  • Sandra Cavanaugh
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Daniel and Dundeana Doyle
  • Dunietz Minsk Family Foundation
  • Kimberly Harris and Kyle Branum
  • Craig Jelinek
  • Joshua Green Foundation
  • Jim and Diana Judson and Family
  • John C. and Karyl Kay Hughes Foundation
  • Key Bank Foundation
  • Lakeside Industries
  • Scott and Patty Medén
  • Margaret Meister and Joan McBride
  • Raman Family Foundation
  • Rubens Family Foundation
  • Orin Smith Family Foundation
  • James Solimano and Karen Marcotte Solimano
  • Charles and Delphine Stevens
  • U.S. Bank
  • Weyerhaeuser

$20,000 — $99,999

  • Accenture
  • Puget Sound Energy Foundation
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • T-Mobile

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