The staff of STRIVE Future Leaders, one of two new JEVS programs that offer skills training, paid work experience, and job placement opportunities to justice-involved young adults. Top: Yamiles (Ya-Ya) De La Cruz, Latifa Houston, Jamaine Jackson. Bottom: Lalin Ing, Alberta Lloyd.
JEVS introduces two innovative programs to help meet the educational and employment needs of young adults who have been involved with the justice system.
Programs that provide education, skills training and job placement assistance to young people who have had a brush with the law can not only reduce recidivism but can afford them the opportunity to turn their lives around and build a path to success. Two new JEVS programs aim to do just that.
In Philadelphia, the STRIVE Future Leaders program offers skills training, paid work experience, and job placement opportunities to justice-involved Philadelphians ages 18-24, helping to set them on a career path to become thriving adults and community members. The national program, funded by the Department of Labor, also has locations in 10 major cities, including New York, Boston and Atlanta where it has a history of success in serving people who face the greatest obstacles to employment.
In Atlantic City, Opportunity YOUth Academy is a workforce readiness training and job placement service for young adults ages 16-24 who have been involved with the juvenile or adult judicial system in Atlantic County, New Jersey. The program also offers high school equivalency tutoring and test preparation, mentoring and paid work experience.
Addressing a Need in Philadelphia
“Today, the need for our services is greater than ever,” said Jamaine Jackson, program manager of STRIVE Future Leaders. “The world is in turmoil and gun violence in the city is spiking. I believe that programming like ours can be the solution to diverting some of the violence by providing a life-changing opportunity that enhances our youth’s social and professional development.”
The program began on August 17th, with an in-person meeting of a 10-member cohort. The 12-week interactive curriculum consists of professional and social development workshops on pre-apprenticeship training, community service and leadership guidance, and employment or post-secondary education placement assistance.
“Our career coaches give each student personal attention to identify and remove the obstacles that stand in the way of success,” said Jackson. “The goal is for members to gain sustained employment on a career path and transform their lives.”
For more information or to apply to the program, contact STRIVE Future Leaders here.
A Growing Presence in Atlantic County
“JEVS is here in Atlantic County training, helping students obtain jobs, and forging partnerships in the community,” said Latoyra Smith, director of Opportunity YOUth Academy, a program launched last month in partnership with the Atlantic City Police Athletic League (PAL).
The program started its first cohort online with six members, and is now recruiting for a second cohort, due to start in September. “We are hoping the second cohort can meet at least partly in person at PAL,” said Smith.
The ultimate goal is a job, and the program guarantees a paid internship where participants learn the skills needed for success. “The internship is an invaluable component because it gives real-life training to the student,” said Smith. “Not only are you getting paid, there is the opportunity to get hired after the internship is complete.”
In addition to real-life experience and earning money, students will be set-up with mentors. “We know from experience that mentoring helps students navigate their lives,” said Smith.
After program completion, members will continue to have access to a Job Club offered by the program which will provide resources needed to find work until they gain employment.
For more information or to apply to the program, contact Opportunity YOUth Academy here.