In 2015, 78% of youth enrolled in Jovenes' Employment Program were able to find or maintain a job.
At Jovenes, we know how important it is for youth to have a steady source of income through employment. Now that Jovenes has more youth in permanent housing, we have adapted our employment program to include career planning and personal development. The new Employment, Education, and Youth Leadership Program has three interconnected components: Youth Leadership Interns, Career Development & Economic Advancement, Education & Housing.
Jovenes youth are congratulated by staff after completing the Employment Readiness curriculum.
1. Youth Leadership Interns: Based at Jovenes’ satellite office at The Wellness Center at the LAC+USC General Hospital, this component provides selected groups of youth with a paid internship opportunity. In this 16-week program, youth work with the Advocacy & Awareness Manager, Employment Counselor, Mental Health Counselor, and their Case Manager to complete curriculum tailored to each youth’s needs and abilities. This internship helps youth develop and improve marketable skills through mentorship, community service, advocacy & awareness activities, storytelling, and healthcare promotion. Youth participate in traditional employment preparation, such as using the Microsoft Office Suite, developing a resume, and career planning; as well as organizing and participating in community based events and activities, such as attending City Council meetings to advocate on behalf of homeless youth, hosting healthcare presentations as certified Peer Healthcare Ambassadors, and sharing stories to increase awareness of the challenges faced by homeless youth. Through this internship, youth see that they can make and meet professional goals while helping the community.
2. Career Development/ Economic Advancement: This component is designed to help all of our youth develop the tools and confidence they need to enter the workforce while also creating direct employment opportunities with local businesses and internships with other nonprofits. By working with Jovenes’ Employment Counselor alongside our Mental Health Counselor, youth are able to identify career tracks, apply for jobs, increase their ability to maintain employment while developing savings, and enroll in community college or vocational/occupational training programs. This program component combines traditional employment preparation, such as resume building, workplace etiquette training, and interview techniques, with mental health counseling in order to implement a trauma informed approach which promotes overall youth development. Through this model, youth increase their self-esteem and become motivated to achieve personal growth while they are searching for and obtaining employment.
3. Education & Housing: This is the newest component of the program and is in a pilot phase. Here, Jovenes provides housing support and services to homeless/at-risk youth enrolled in local community colleges. Utilizing rental subsidies, case management, employment support, and mental health services, Jovenes will bring our resources onto community college campuses to support homeless students. This will bridge a critical service gaps community colleges are unable to address - the provision of supportive services both on and off campus as well as housing support. Jovenes will partner with the campus’ existing programs for homeless and at-risk students in order to reach out to the most vulnerable youth.
Through our multifaceted approach, youth can stabilize, obtain employment, and complete educational programs. Jovenes’ core goal as an agency is for youth to move into permanent housing with the ability to develop financial independence. Successful job placement and retention with the ability to increase income over time are the long-term goals of the Employment, Education, and Youth Leadership Programs.