RELEASE: Opportunity and Counseling Corps Would Rein in Youth Unemployment While Strengthening Academic and Social-Emotional Supports in High-Poverty Schools

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released a new report envisioning the establishment of an Opportunity and Counseling Corps to help the nation’s students and educators in high-poverty schools recover from the coronavirus pandemic. As a new school year begins that will include closures, virtual learning, and hybrids of time in schools and online, students will need significantly more academic, career and college counseling, and mental health supports. And these needs will be even greater in the high-poverty communities hit hardest by COVID-19 diagnoses and concentrated job losses.

With today’s young workers unemployed at more than twice the rate of workers 25 years of age and older, the plan envisions hiring tens of thousands of recent high school and college graduates as well as other community members to serve as tutors, resident teachers, classroom aides, mentors, and apprentices in order to support families struggling with remote learning technologies or to assist in maintaining school facilities. Additionally, the plan would hire tens of thousands of new social workers, psychologists, and counselors to help met students’ and educators’ mental health needs.

In addition to outlining how the program would function, CAP includes estimates for both cost and impact—how many students could be reached—based on modeling for the price of Opportunity and Counseling Corps positions annually.

“The coronavirus pandemic will have a scarring effect on students and young adults for years to come,” said Neil Campbell, director of innovation for K-12 Education Policy at CAP. “It will take meaningful public investments—particularly in our nation’s high-poverty schools and communities—to address their academic, social, and emotional needs. Through evidence-backed strategies, the Opportunity and Counseling Corps can help meet this increased demand, create good jobs for young adults just entering the workforce, and set students up for success in college and careers that provide real financial security,”

Please click here to read “The Opportunity and Counseling Corps: Helping K-12 Students and Young Adults Recover From the Coronavirus Crisis” by Neil Campbell, Abby Quirk, and Roby Chatterji.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.