Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 19, 2016
Each Saturday over the month of January and early February, 54 transition age foster youth participated in an innovative employment workshop dubbed “The L.A. Jobs Initiative.” The comprehensive workshop will lead to employment in various positions in the grocery, food and beverage and retail industries, including Ralphs, Food4Less, Nabisco, and Starbucks.
Hosted by The Los Angeles Transition Age Youth Collaborative (TAY Collaborative), Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC), iFoster, Los Angeles Trade Tech College, and the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) and facilitated by Hillsides Youth Moving On, the series of five workshops use the World of Work curriculum, developed by Columbia University and customized by the TAY Collaborative for the unique employment needs of Los Angeles foster and crossover youth.
The L.A. Jobs Initiative is spearheaded by iFoster and the OYC and will also capitalize on the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative corporate coalition, with employment links to TOMS, Target, Nordstrom, Nabisco, Sweetgreens and Walgreen’s. With over 3.4 million jobs across retail, wholesale, supply chain and manufacturing, the $620 billion grocery industry in particular is working with iFoster to provide opportunities for part-time and full-time jobs that include benefits, scholarships and tuition reimbursement for post-secondary education, and career advancement. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is committed to hiring 100,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and not working by 2018.
In addition to completing the TAY Collaborative curriculum, participating youth received the Chamber of Commerce Work Readiness Certification from the Work Source Center – a key component of the City of Los Angeles’ HIRE LA’s Youth initiative. Successful completion provides youth with a portable credential certifying that they possess the basic skills necessary to obtain and retain employment. Los Angeles Trade Tech College and the CRCD have arranged for youth to gain college credit for completing the training series, and iFoster provided each participant with a laptop. The Paul Mitchell School, Suit 4A Suit, No Kid Left Uncut, and Foster Care Counts provided hairstyling and wardrobe services to each participant.
ABOUT THE TAY COLLABORATIVE The TAY Collaborative’s focus is current or former foster youth who have “aged out” of foster care between the ages of 15 and 26 years old. The World of Work curriculum that the Collaborative is developing is unique in that it focuses on the needs and skills of youth who have a history of involvement with the child welfare system. Peer support is a key element of the curriculum, and it emphasizes the behavioral skills necessary to conduct a job search and cultivate a career in any discipline.
The curriculum and facilitator’s guide have been tailored to the Los Angeles market and are currently being piloted by the five Collaborative agencies: Hathaway-Sycamores, Hillsides Youth Moving On, Los Angeles Youth Network, Pacific Clinics and lead agency St. Anne’s. During the pilot, Columbia University is conducting a formative evaluation of the curriculum to identify and incorporate improvements. In the next two years, the Collaborative seeks to position the finalized curriculum as an evidence-based, best practices model with the capacity for widespread replication. The Collaborative emphasizes “collaboration, not competition” among participating agencies and uses shared resources to strengthen workforce development for foster youth in an innovative and integrated approach.