In a few short weeks, high school seniors will experience an exciting, life-changing event. Graduation. The pride of accomplishing a giant educational step. The first step, of many, toward entering the workforce and preparing for a career. But for a large percentage of students in Philadelphia public schools, each June is a reminder of their decision to quit school, dropping out for variety of reasons: pregnancy, boredom, bullying, poor grades, needing to work to support the family, to name a few.
Over the past two years, 108 young individuals have found their way back to school. This time at JEVS for a free program called Project WOW (World of Work). The program helps dropouts who want to get their lives on track by offering GED® test preparation–the main attraction of the program–as well as skills training and job search assistance.
Starting this July 2017, Project WOW has a different look and feel in response to students’ feedback about the program, as well as the idea of tailoring program offerings to meet the needs, skills and interests of each individual. We are currently accepting applications for the July class. Keep reading for Frequently Asked Questions about the new options and opportunities at JEVS Project WOW.
Project WOW FAQs
Who qualifies for JEVS Project WOW?
This program is no cost to Philadelphia youth ages 18–24 who have dropped out of high school and meet financial requirements.
How is JEVS Project WOW different than other GED programs in the city?
While the program is academic, featuring high school equivalency or GED (General Educational Development) test preparation through focused classroom study of reading, math, science and social studies, Project WOW offers so much more. Students also receive hands-on training that will enable them to secure their first job on a new career path. In addition, through our Professional Development curriculum, Project WOW prepares students for the world of work, teaching workplace ethics and etiquette, building a résumé, preparing for an interview, and matching students to job openings with JEVS’s employer partners.
How is the program structure changing?
At JEVS, youth have a voice! Program participants in earlier Project WOW classes demonstrated differing learning styles and motivations, and spoke up about wanting more choices to achieve success. Our new, individualized “career pathway” program structure will debut with the July 2017 class to now offer:
- Hands-on career training options in high-demand industries, such as building trades (specifically property maintenance and repair), as well as a new track in IT (specifically coding and web design). If these career areas are not of interest to students, they can elect to participate in a paid work experience to gain real-world, on-the-job training and skills.
- Participation in a service learning project for students who thrive on “learning by doing,” while experiencing the rewards of giving back to the community and working as a team. Some of the projects will be performed on-site at JEVS’s residential programs for individuals with disabilities, such as winterizing homes. While other projects may take place in students’ neighborhoods or benefit local organizations or charities in need of a hand.
- Incentives, including a weekly transpass for getting to and from class, and GED test fees covered. However, one of the best new features of Project WOW are the financial rewards! We want students to commit to and complete the entire program, so they’ll receive monetary incentives for reaching particular program milestones.
- Our new Job Coach will work with each student individually to assess his/her skills and career goals, and match the student with good job openings at companies that turn to JEVS to hire new, reliable employees.
- Student support services to help Project WOW students succeed during the 24-week program, as well as support them for up to a year as they begin their new journeys and careers.
- Pre-apprenticeship program that provides a stepping stone and prepares students to enter a registered apprenticeship.
Why is this new program structure important to high school dropouts?
Think of JEVS Project WOW as a gateway…guiding youth to take the next step toward a promising future! To provide a second chance to young adults who realize that they need to finish their education and gain solid skills that employers are looking for. So many of our Project WOW applicants say that they want to join the program so that they can get a good job to support their kids, make their families proud, or go on for a college degree. As one applicant put it, “to take control of the unfinished business in my life.” The new Project WOW structure is based on best practices to help youth build a path to stable careers and self-sufficiency.