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Opening Pathways for Vulnerable Young People in Patagonia


Requests for reprints should be sent to Stephen F. Hamilton, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, G58 MVR, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail:


New and improved institutions are needed to support the transition to adulthood of vulnerable young people. Existing institutions that should provide that support demonstrate structural lag: they have not adapted to changing circumstances. Action research was conducted in Por un Mañana, an employment training program for low-income youth and young adults in the Patagonia region of Argentina to explore how to build developmental assets and to overcome employers' prejudice against low-income youth. Consultation with program graduates generated new program elements to increase social inclusion and employability of young mothers and graduates. The action research team uncovered participants' fears and preconceptions about work and the need to move them out of the program's protective bubble.