Prevention PLUS, Inc provides a range of educational and vocational services to high-risk youth in Clayton County, Georgia. Its model integrates postsecondary education and training that aims to place participants in high-growth, high-demand careers. To identify its sector focus, Prevention PLUS, Inc conducted a labor market analysis and mapped community assets to find that it has the second largest convention and exhibit center in Georgia, twenty-five industrial parks and twenty Fortune 500 Companies located in the area. It has a “Foreign Trade Zone” designation, is a transportation hub (highways & railways), and has the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is the world’s busiest airport. Prevention PLUS, Inc. then identified the 50 fastest growing sectors, focusing on sectors with projected openings, and refined its search to include occupations that did not require a bachelor’s degree and that offered at least 80 percent of the median salary for the area. It found that logistics and supply chain management offered great promise for the youth it served. The program developed a partnership with Atlanta Technical College (ATC) in order to serve as a “feeder” program to its supply chain management program.
Through this partnership with ATC, youth are offered career pathway opportunities through certification in warehousing and distribution and supply chain management with programs lasting anywhere from a 7-week truck driving or fork lift certificate program to a 2-year associate degree program in supply chain management. The program is currently working on developing a partnership where youth can go on to attain a bachelor’s degree that will be offered in conjunction with Clayton State College in supply chain management.
Prevention Plus, Inc introduces students to postsecondary education and career development early in the program cycle, having students participate in postsecondary placement activities, and providing a strong, coordinated “case management” approach to help students transition to employment or postsecondary education. Recognizing early on in the program that youth often struggle in occupational training without adequate preparation, Prevention Plus, Inc works to strengthen its basic skills remediation, helping youth improve literacy and numeracy skills, as well as its work readiness skills training, in order to help better prepare youth for success in occupational training and employment. For more information on the programs and services at Prevention PLUS, Inc. see http://www.fpss.org/home0.aspx.
Los Angeles Reconnections Health Care Training Academy (Reconnections Academy) has become the City of Los Angeles’ allied health career training program for older and out-of-school youth ages 18-24. The Reconnections Academy has been designed to provide: educational upgrades, training in an allied health career, an internship, certification, and employment in allied health career occupations. The Reconnections Academy is conducted in four stages: orientation, classroom training, work experience, and job placement. The program cycles last about six months. As participants successfully complete the orientation process (stage 1), they are enrolled in the classroom training component (stage 2) lasting 90 days. Upon completion of the classroom training activity, participants are enrolled in the work experience segment for 140 hours (stage 3). After completing their work experience, participants are moved to job placement (stage 4). Participants are paid for stages 1 through 3. They are also given incentives which can include: cash bonuses, support services, fees for certifications, uniforms, and transportation.
The classroom training curriculum is employer driven. The primary occupations of choice for the Reconnections Academy are certified nursing assistant, home health aide, emergency medical technician, emergency department aide, pharmacy technician, and medical billing and coding. Participants are engaged in orientation and assessment. The orientation, which includes assessments and general academic testing, is conducted by case managers, designated program administrative staff, and members of the job prep and placement team. Participants are enrolled initially with no stipends in the 20-hour orientation period. During this period candidates take the CASAS test, sign into the Discover Career Planning Tool, http://actapps.act.org/eDISCOVER, which is the foundation for the Individual Educational Plan, participate in a psychometric assessment, and complete the "Most to Benefit" rating tool. The rating tool is used to assess the candidate's readiness for the Reconnections Academy. Participants also take a work readiness assessment prior to transitioning into the classroom activity.
Classroom training is taught on-site. Selected trainings are held at partner community colleges and at the training schools affiliated with the Reconnections Academy. Clinical and work experience activities are done at partner hospitals, health care centers, and medical facilities in the Los Angeles area. Participants spend 167 hours in work experience, job shadowing, and occupational mentoring. Supportive services, directed counseling, and case management activities are ongoing to enhance retention and to resolve long-term challenges which could hamper job placement and retention. For more information on L.A.’s Reconnection Academy, see its case study in the Allied Health Access Guide: How to Develop Programs for Youth in Allied Health Careers.
EmployIndy, the workforce board for Marion County, Indiana, has operated a summer youth program targeting the IT industry for each of the past three summers. The program is part of the YouthWorks Indy Summer Youth initiative and has resulted in a high level of certification and placement in employment or subsequent education.
The YouthWorks Indy 2012 summer youth program provides an IT program to 17-21 year old youth. The program primarily serves out-of-school youth who tested at or above the 9th grade level on the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and in-school youth who recently graduated from high school. The program is six weeks in length; approximately 40 hours per week. Youth are paid $8.50/hour for all the time spent in the program, including work experience, work readiness training, and occupational training. Youth spend two days in the classroom learning occupational and work readiness skills and three days on the job putting their newly gained skills to work. Work readiness training is critical to success on the job and is heavily focused on during the two days of classroom-based training each week. Youth are expected to demonstrate the work readiness skills both in the classroom and on the job. Feedback from case managers and worksite supervisors is used to evaluate participant work readiness gains.
The IT occupational training component of the program is offered by certified IT trainers who prepare youth to attain entry-level credentials in the IT field. The program also arranges and pays for certification testing. Any participant who does not pass the certification is provided remediation and is allowed to retake the certification test. The three occupational credentials offered are CompTIA IT Fundamentals, printer/copier maintenance, and fiber installation and media. The certifications were selected by the program because they provide a variety of exposure to different areas of the IT industry, they can be achieved in a short-term summer program, and they often lead to secondary, stackable certifications (example: CompTIA IT to A +).
Youth are placed in work experiences in the IT field and are assigned to various employers based on their skills and interests. Jobs vary from the development of software or applications to stringing cable/fiber to maintenance/repair of PCs/printers/copiers. Worksite supervisors serve as industry mentors throughout the program and often after. The short-term training and entry-level credential attainment offered through the program provides youth with an intensive career exploration opportunity where, if interested, they can take the knowledge, skills, and work experience and apply them to continued training in the IT field. Youth are assigned a case manager who provides them with information about career pathways opportunities and transition support, and makes formal referrals to the Adult Workforce Investment Act program in order to access additional sector specific training and placement assistance. For more information on YouthWorks Indy, see https://www.workoneindy.org/oneflow/YouthWorksIndy.aspx.