Community Youth Services has also been providing services to support youth independence and engagement in the workforce. This program seeks to enhance these services to provide a comprehensive project to train, prepare, and engage youth in employment. Our agency always works to support youth education, but experiences demonstrate that paired with part time employment, youth can become engaged, successful and productive while also engaged in their education. Often these employment experiences lead youth to set their sights on ongoing education or training and eventual financial independence.
This program will improve the academic and employment successes of at risk youth, which directly correlates to decreased poverty and less dependence on others. By providing transferable job skills, mentoring, and financial literacy for eligible impoverished youth, youth will be prepared to enter employment. Program staff will also complete follow up partnering with youth and employers to support ongoing employment. Community Youth Services recognizes there is additional education needed and often barriers to youth success. The project will provide group and individual counseling and health education services to increase knowledge and support overcoming barriers. Auburn and Lewiston’s school graduation and juvenile crime rates are of concern to all who live, work and visit our community. The cycle of generational poverty-and an increase in juvenile crime continues when impoverished youth are disenfranchised and disconnected. At-risk youth lack stability in many forms: family, peers, education, and financial stability. This instability leads to instability, lack of focus on goals and positive activities and teens turn to unproductive behaviors. Community Youth Services is committed to working alongside these youth and their families in order to affect positive change. CYS staff and the Career Pathway Initiatives coordinator will continue to work collaboratively with the Auburn and Lewiston School Departments and Career Center to identify and support 80 impoverished and at-risk youth. We will provide educational support utilizing college mentors. Youth will learn resume writing and interview skills, soft job skills and financial literacy education. In partnership with other agencies and local businesses, we will work towards breaking the cycle of multi-generational poverty and dependence.
A financial literacy program will accompany the job skills programming. Basic banking skills will be supplemented with additional information about loans, interest, savings, and the critical need to plan, budget, and distribute income over time in support of sharing total household expenses. In cooperation with the Auburn and Lewiston School Department and the local Career Center, students will learn soft jobs skills as well as pertinent job specific skills needed to complete an internship or apprenticeship and secure a part time or full time job, thereby increasing personal and household income. Students will be encouraged to seek higher education in the form of a certified program or college degree. Success will be realized when at-risk youth (target age group 15-19) complete the 12 week soft skill course that includes resume writing, interviewing skills, job search, learning some independent skills, securing an internship/apprenticeship followed by a part-time position while completing high school or GED/HiSET program. Participation in the “Conflict & Cooperation” classes will bring about behavioral changes. Students will visit the Career Center and attend job fairs with the project coordinator. These opportunities will provide a comfort level for the student because they know what to expect and how to access the job market. Because the at-risk student will be engaged and productive, law enforcement will realize a reduction in the number of youth crimes.
CYS will continue and expand its collaboration with local employers. Youth will experience job shadowing and the coordinator will assist youth in learning how interview and begin a new job. CYS will follow up with both the youth and the employer to praise positive work and troubleshoot issues that might eventually lead to resignation or termination. Follow ups will occur at 2 weeks, 30 days, and 3 months from the start of employment.
The impacts realized during the last two years of the Suspension Diversion program are countless. Most of these at-risk youth come from impoverished and dysfunctional families. The new “Conflict Resolution and Cooperation Skills” curriculum (from the Center for Nonviolent Solutions) empowers students to make wiser choices – whether in their home, the classroom, at work and socially. They learn acceptable behaviors and what is not acceptable so they can make informed choices when presented. These skills allow students to refrain from engaging in criminal activities. Coupled with job training and interview skills, these students have the foundation for obtaining and retaining a good job. At-risk youth who have participated in the program have an increased level of self-confidence that they didn’t have before and are now able to function independently in the community with ongoing support from CYS. Youth engaged in employment are constantly learning and gaining skills to prevent future unemployment and reliance on others.
Referral Sources for the Career Pathways Initiative
Auburn and Lewiston Public Schools
Auburn and Lewiston Police Departments
Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office
DHHS Office of Family Independence and/or Fedcap
DHHS Office of Child and Family Services
Community Case Managers
Other community agencies
You can sent Referral to firstname.lastname@example.org