• Community name:  Cambridge
  • Website:  http://www.cambridgema.gov
  • Population:  105,337
  • Graduation rate:  91.4%
  • Youth poverty rate:  19.1%


In its sixth year as a 100 Bestwinner, Cambridge has demonstrated a commitment to helping young people thrive by ensuring they enter the workforce with quality skills. The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) hires half of all Cambridge teens aged 14 to 18. Employment opportunities range from video production to working in a medical facility. In 2011, MSYEP employed 900 teens and plans to hire 50 more this year.

Cambridge is also committed to providing youth with multiple pathways to receive an education and reach their potential. The College Success Initiative is a collaboration of school personnel, alternative and adult education providers, youth and their families who work to ensure students are well-prepared for college and that they apply to schools that are the best fit for them. In addition, Cambridge’s Safety Net Collaborative brings together the Cambridge Police Department, Cambridge Health Alliance, the Department of Human Service Programs and Cambridge Public Schools to assist at-risk youth with mental health screenings, mentoring programs and a juvenile diversion program.

Community Programs

  • Reaching All Youth is an umbrella group of nonprofit agencies, businesses, schools and community members who work with Cambridge youth to combine resources, time, energy and ideas to ensure all young people are connected to appropriate services, advocates, mentors and programs. 
  • The Safety Net Collaborative identifies young people in the community who are demonstrating unsafe behaviors and links them to services.
  • The College Success Initiative is a collaboration of school personnel, alternative and adult education providers, and youth and their families.
  • Cambridge’s Office of Workforce Development partners with the Chamber of Commerce on the Cambridge Challenge, an annual effort to engage businesses with youth programs, which includes summer jobs for teens aged 16 to19.

Youth Voices

“There is so much diversity among the city of Cambridge that the opportunities provided for us help us understand and appreciate the many cultures that surround us.”

– Kyia

“Unquestionably, the relationship kids have with some of the police in Cambridge is a big reason Cambridge is a good place for the youth.”

– Anthony