STRIVE Future Leaders graduating class of 2021 with program staff members Alberta Lloyd, Penn Foster Workshop Facilitator and Ora Henry, Youth Case Manager.
JEVS’ STRIVE Future Leaders program offers skills training, paid work experience, and job placement opportunities to justice-involved young adults aged 18-24, helping to set them on a career path and become thriving adults and community members. JEVS began management and implementation of the program in 2020 when it agreed to take over for another organization.
“In January 2020 we inherited a partial grant with an agreement to fulfill remaining benchmarks,” said Program Director Jamaine Jackson. “So it wasn’t a full grant, it was more of a pilot to see if JEVS could do the work and receive a full grant.”
Despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the program was able to meet its goals, and then some. “We actually overachieved the grant with a 153% enrollment rate,” said Jackson. “The remainder of the grant had a goal of 40 enrollments, and we enrolled 57 in an eight month time period.”
Jackson stated that the program was able to achieve that level of success through strategic planning and by reaching out to existing and new partnerships including parole boards, juvenile detention centers and other community partners. “One thing we do well at JEVS is build relationships,” he said.
As a result of this success, the STRIVE parent organization has announced that after receiving new grant from the Department of Labor, the STRIVE Future Leaders program in Philadelphia will be able to continue to operate for three more years.
“This is our first full grant from STRIVE,” said Jackson. “We’re excited to continue and expand upon what we’ve built with some new program components to serve the young people in our community.”
According to the terms of the grant, JEVS STRIVE Future Leaders will provide participant services in five core service areas:
Case management, including assigning a case manager to each participant and connecting participants with legal services and other supportive services as needed
Education including assessment service, high school diploma programs such as Penn Foster, and assistance with college programs.
Training leading to industry-recognized credentials that lead to an initial job placement.
Integrated workforce activities such as on the job training and work experience programs, resume preparation and interviewing skills, and direct job placement into unsubsidized part and full-time employment.
Follow-up services for each participant for a minimum of 12 months.
In addition, STRIVE Future Leaders will be partnering with Community College of Philadelphia to provide education and training services to prepare program participants for careers in the fields of Building Trades, Retail, and Hospitality. (Costs associated with participants’ enrollment in the College’s programs will be covered through the grant award, and therefore offered free of charge to the participants).
“We will also be adding an apprenticeship component to the program as another opportunity for career pathways,” said Jackson.
Jackson is confident the STRIVE Future Leaders program can make a difference for justice-involved youth. “These are individuals that have not done any state or federal time – most of them are first-time offenders,” he said. “Our objective is to get them into our program and help build their career path so they don’t move further into the criminal justice system.”
See TV coverage on 6ABC of their graduation this summer