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Cornell Youth in Society

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Principal Investigator & Director: Mary Agnes Hamilton
Principal Investigator: Stephen Hamilton
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Cornell Youth in Society carries out research and outreach to understand and enhance community supports and opportunities for young people making the transition to adulthood in the United States and around the world. Vulnerable youth are of special interest. Supports and opportunities investigated include work, service, schools, and mentoring relationships with adults in those and other community contexts. The Program is also engaged in efforts to strengthen the links between research and the practice of youth development.

In contemporary societies, adulthood is defined by the assumption of institutional roles, especially in the family and work. New and more effective institutions are needed for youth with limited resources to overcome "structural lag", the mismatch between changing developmental trajectories and conventional social institutions. Structural lag has the harshest consequences for young people who have access neither to advanced education nor to productive employment. “Opening Pathways/Abriendo Caminos” was a project designed to explore promising programs and emerging institutions supporting the transition to adulthood of marginalized youth. It formed action research partnerships in 2009 with four programs in Latin America. This project was made possible by a grant from Jacobs Foundation in Switzerland. See recent and selected Publications. Earlier products related to youth apprenticeship and mentoring from the Cornell Youth and Work Program may be found in the web archive.