Current government and business policy has forced regional Australia to adjust to the national deregulation of industries on which regional communities have become highly dependent. Adjustment is proving difficult with many regional communities struggling as the economic, social and educational core of the town and district falters. This paper examines the educational and employment environments facing young Australians in regional communities within this context and considers the associated research. That research shows that its vital future social programs are characterised by partnerships between communities, business, the key sectors of education, training and employment and all tiers of government. The large variation in circumstances found in rural communities needs to be accommodated into government social welfare planning. The paper also reports on the author's original research conducted between 2004 and 2005 involving a series of survey consultations and a case study in Orange, New South Wales. This project served to identify core criteria for generating opportunities for young people in regional areas. The paper concludes that ultimately the health and well-being of rural communities is dependent on suitable partnerships and the capacity for rural communities to engage with their youth population through service and support programs.