WorkSource Renton

Organization
Organization Name: 
WorkSource Renton
Organization Director: 
Linda Peterson, Director, Community Services Division
Program Name: 
YouthSource
Street Address: 
401 Fifth Ave., Suite 510
City: 
Seattle
State: 
WA
ZIP: 
98104
Phone Number: 
(206) 205-3510
Contact
Contact Person: 
Grace Kong
Contact Title: 
Project/Program Manager
Contact E-mail: 
Program
Organization Profile: 

WorkSource Renton is a One-Stop Career Center that “helps people find jobs, and helps employers recruit employees and keep them.” It is operated by the King County Work Training Program in Washington. WorkSource Renton provides comprehensive employment services to job seekers, including access to employers, access to computer labs for job searching and creating resumes, facilitated job search and career workshops, individualized employment and training assistance, and support to continue education and training (in partnership with local community and technical colleges).

Program Structure/Design: 

YouthSource is a youth center located in WorkSource Renton. It is a component of the Work Training Program of the King County Department of Community and Human Services, which provides education and job training services that help low-income and disadvantaged youth and adults get on track toward livable wage jobs and long-term self-sufficiency, in partnership with schools, businesses, local cities and others. YouthSource offers a full array of programs for young adults ages 16-21 who have dropped out of high school. These programs focus on education, employment, and leadership development. They also provide connections to youth programs, community resources for life stabilization, job readiness and placement services, and comprehensive case management. Data from 2006-2007 indicate about two-thirds of participants are male and 68% are youth of color. The average participant age is 17 years old while about 30% are 16 or under and 17 percent are between the ages of 19 and 21.

States of Operation: 
WA
ODEP Funded: 
No
Innovative Practices
School-Based Preparatory Experiences: 

YouthSource provides youth with a variety of academic options in a variety of settings. These options include pathways for youth to attain their GEDs, high school diplomas, and career and technical education opportunities.

YouthSource offers students who have not finished high school the opportunity to learn in a nontraditional setting. In partnership with Renton Technical College and Seattle Public Schools – Interagency Academy, many services focus on helping youth complete high school or attain a GED. These services are aligned with essential academic learning requirements, are comprised of contextual learning related to careers, have open entry/open exit admissions, use project-based learning, are self-paced and student-centered, and use small group instruction.

DigitalBridge Technology Academy -All KingCounty youth ages 16-21 who have dropped out of high school are eligible for the Digital Bridge Technology Academy. Itprovides young adults with the opportunity to complete their high school diploma or attain a GED while gaining basic and advanced software and hardware training. The Digital Bridge team encourages youth to explore technology careers through participation in hands-on classes, workshops, internships, and service learning projects. In partnership with the YMCA and through a grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Digital Bridge Technology Academy is providing advanced technology skills training in both software (Digital Arts) and hardware (Cisco A+). Advanced occupational skills trainings are four months in length, with an opportunity to participate in a three-month paid internship upon completion of the training. This training also translates into credits at several local community and technical colleges, through Tech Prep.

Career Preparation and Work-Based Learning Experiences: 

YouthSource provides multiple venues for youth to engage in diverse career exploration experiences and participate in hands-on and on-the-job learning and working environments. YouthSource also works with local postsecondary partners to provide trade- and industry-recognized certifications and credentials.

Opportunity Skyway -Opportunity Skyway at the King County International Airport is an aviation technology and manufacturing exploration program for young adults ages 16-21 who have dropped out of high school. It provides these young persons with the unique opportunity to finish their education as they experience hands-on learning in aviation, manufacturing, and other career exploration opportunities. Students divide their time between the classroom and the shop. In the classroom, they focus on improving academic competencies in order to eventually earn their high school diploma or GED. In the shop, while constructing an airplane, students apply their basic skills and gain job skills such as blueprint reading, math, proper use of hand and machine tools, and teamwork.

YouthBuild -Young adults between the ages of 16-21 who live in King County, qualify as low-income, and have dropped out of high school are eligible. YouthBuild provides young adults the opportunity to complete their high school diploma or GED while they explore construction careers. The program emphasizes exploration of emerging trade industries such as green jobs that use technologies that reduce energy consumption and protect the environment.

Education and job training are integrated into all aspects of the YouthBuild experience. A YouthBuild student learns about leadership and community stewardship while building upon skills that teach self-sufficiency and include positive peer influences and community-building. During the year, YouthBuild students construct homes for families in need through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Central Area Motivation Program. They also receive trades-related certifications and explore apprenticeships and job opportunities at South Seattle Community College’s Georgetown Campus.

Youth Development and Leadership: 

YouthSource encourages students to develop themselves positively by taking on leadership roles through community/service learning, interpersonal skill development, justice committee and advocacy work, life skills training, public speaking, and student council. YouthSource provides youth with leadership opportunities within the program by engaging them in writing the program’s drug and alcohol policies, staffing the front desk, and decorating the program space. Through these and similar youth leadership activities, youth develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for the success of the program as a whole in addition to their own personal success. To help youth expand their personal development skills, the on-site therapist holds weekly group and one-on-one sessions on health and wellness, stress management, and independent living. Through a partnership with the Washington State University Extension, the youth participate in cooking and nutrition classes and community service projects.

Connecting Activities: 

YouthSource provides services to youth using a person-centered planning process paired with individualized service strategies. The program goals are to help individual youth increase their educational attainment, to access quality jobs offering advancement potential, and to provide a system-wide approach to meet their needs.On-site case managers conduct assessments and assist youth with developing their career plans and accessing needed accommodations. YouthSource effectively partners with community organizations and agencies, such as enrolling YouthSource participants in “Alive & Free,” a 12-week life skills program offered by the YMCA. Youth also receive identified support services such as transportation assistance (e.g., bus tickets, gas vouchers), work wardrobe, funding assistance for GED classes, job training, and on-site mental health care. YouthSource partners/collaborators include Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW), Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP), Habitat for Humanity, and South Seattle Community College.

Evidence of Success (Information and Analysis)
Systems Change: 

In July 2008, YouthSource was honored by the U.S. Department of Labor as a Nation’s Outstanding Youth Employment Program. Ongoing qualitative and quantitative data collection is used to monitor youth participation, school and job placements, credential or diploma attainment, and other outcomes. Reinvest in Youth did a longitudinal evaluation resulting in a 120-page evaluation report.

In partnering with the business community, YouthSource provides subsidized work placements, work readiness, and training to help the youth be successful. They work with the youth to assure their commitment. With the training and support provided through YouthSource, the youth demonstrate their capacity and dedication to the work, often resulting in the business extending their employment after the subsidized period.

Data: 

The YouthSource participants confront significant barriers as evident in the 2006-2007 data:

Percent of participants who are school dropouts                    97%
Percent of participants who are educationally at risk             99%
Percent participants who are unemployed at enrollment        87%
Percent involved in the justice system                                   66%
Percent with an identified disability                                       31%
Percent with a history of drug or alcohol abuse                      44%
Percent who are homeless                                                       10%

Nevertheless, of the 276 youth ages 14-21 who participated in YouthSource programs in 2006-07, 71% completed their program and either entered the workforce or went on to further education and training. Of participants ages 19 to 21, 78% entered the workforce. In addition, YouthSource and its partner King County Superior Court have been notably successful with court-involved youth. Out of 190 youth who were referred to YouthSource through the courts, 82% did not re-offend.

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