UTEC Social Enterprise Employment for Proven-Risk Young Adults

UTEC’s mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disengaged young people to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. UTEC measures the social and economic success of its mission through Reduced Recidivism, Increased Employability, and Increased Educational Attainment.

Record Type: 
Innovative Programs
October 2018
Type of Agency: 
Community-Based Organization
Dates of Program: 
Program Location: 
Lowell, Massachusetts
Type of Organization Coordinating/Operating the Program: 
Community-based organization
Funding Sources: 
Public and private grants, gifts, earned revenue from social enterprises
Clientele/Population Served: 
Young adults ages 17-25 with histories of serious criminal and/or gang involvement
Programs/Services Offered: 

- Street outreach and correctional facility in-reach; gang peacemaking
- Paid work experience in UTEC social enterprises: Mattress Recycling, Food Services, and Woodworking
- Earn certifications including OSHA and ServSafe options
- Intensive wraparound supports throughout the self-paced program, with average enrollment of 18-24 months
- Integrated education for HiSET/GED attainment and dual-enrollment options
- 2Gen programming with co-located early education center and family engagement activities
- Social justice and civic engagement embedded throughout the model
- Transition to external employment and 2 years of follow-up services

Evaluation Results: 

Outcomes for young adults included (FY17):
99% of UTEC enrolled young people had no new convictions;
90% of UTEC enrolled young people had no new arrests;
32% of young people who attended HiSET classes earned their credential this year;

Of participants who completed programming 2 years ago:
94% had no new arrests since leaving UTEC;
78% are currently employed and/or enrolled in post-secondary education.

  • Employment
  • Education and Training
  • Supportive Services
  • Special Populations
    • Incarcerated and Individuals with a Criminal Record
    • Youth in Transition