Career Readiness Programming For Youth In Foster Care.
Gates, Lauren B. Pearlmutter, Sue. Keenan, Kat. Divver, Caitlin. Gorroochurn, Prakash.
Published: June 2018
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 89 , p. 152-164
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Career readiness preparation is essential to successful employment outcomes for young people in foster care who are often disrupted in their vocational development as a consequence of their challenging life circumstances. Efforts by social service providers, however, to prepare young people in foster care for economic self-sufficiency have met with varying success. The purpose of this paper is to offer findings from a formative evaluation of Works Wonders, a career readiness program for young people in care, that contribute to the understanding of the factors that affect their career preparation, self-determination and work outcomes as they transition from foster care to the adult world of work. Works Wonders included a career club that provided the skills and knowledge to explore career options, prepare for a job search (e.g., preparing a resume, learning how to interview, drafting cover letter), conduct a job search and retain the job once secured (e.g., relational competencies important for being effective in the workplace.) The program also provided individual support around career planning, and hands-on work experiences. One hundred and eighty randomly selected young people between the ages of 14 and 21 who were in Rhode Island's foster care system or alumni of care were enrolled over five years. Interviews with young people and staff service records provided information about program engagement, career readiness, self-determination, and work status. Data were collected at enrollment, after completion of career club (about six months following enrollment) and 12 months following enrollment. Results support a significant relationship between career readiness and employment. Young people who completed the career club and participated in a hands-on work experience while in enrolled in the program were more likely to be working at follow-up compared to those that dropped out. Self-determination also increased for young people who completed the group compared to those who did not. (Author abstract)
aging out; foster adolescents; foster care alumni; independent living skills; independent living; job training; ECONOMIC SELF SUFFICIENCY; EMPLOYMENT; VOCATIONAL TRAINING