Jewish Vocational Service High School/High Tech (HS/HT) Program

(ODEP Demonstration Program)

Organization Contact Information / Project Contact Information / Innovative Practices / Project Details

Organization Contact Information

Name of Organization Jewish Vocational Service
Contact Paul Gibson
Contact Title Director Of Youth Department
Street Address 225 Bush Street, Suite 400
City San Francisco
State CA
Zip Code 94104
Phone Number (415) 782-6266
FAX (415) 391-3617
Email Address
Website Address
Organization Profile

The Jewish Vocational Service’s (JVS) mission is to bring people and work together. The organization accomplishes this by linking employers and individuals together to achieve the employment goals of the Jewish community by providing the skills necessary for success in today’s workplace. JVS links employers and individuals to work together to achieve their employment goals through high quality customer service, innovative program strategies, and the use of new technologies.

JVS offers a wide range of programs and services to both adults and youth with barriers to employment, including the following:

  • Counseling programs provide career assessment, planning, and transition services.
  • Employment programs assist with job retention and career advancement.
  • Resettlement programs serve the local refugee population.
  • Jewish programs serve the local Jewish community.
  • Training programs offer the opportunity to enter fields such as nursing assistant or paralegal.

Project Contact Information

Grantee Project Name Jewish Vocational Service High School/High Tech (HS/HT) Program
Contact Kevin Hickey
Contact Title Program Coordinator
Street Address 225 Bush Street, Suite 400
City San Francisco
State CA
Zip Code 94104
Phone Number (415) 782-6279
FAX (415) 391-3617
Email Address
Website Address

Innovative Practices

Program Structure/Design

In order to serve youth with disabilities more effectively within JVS youth programs, some specific areas of improvement were identified through the HS/HT program that benefited JVS youth programs overall, including universally designed products, programs, and services. JVS also increased the attention it placed on internships and job shadowing. To that end, internship and job shadowing products and activities (including internship brochures and handbooks) that were created through the HS/HT program are now used throughout JVS Youth Programs.

Workforce Preparatory & Work-based Experiences

JVS Youth Programs offer a range of career assessments, including informal interest inventories and formal vocational assessments such as the Career Exploration Inventory (CEI) and the Job Search Attitude Inventory (JSAI). These services are provided both individually, as needed, and in WRP’s career exploration lessons in classroom settings. JVS Youth Programs offer regular career exploration opportunities, such as guest speakers and site visits, which provide youth with information on career opportunities that provide a living wage, including information about education, entry requirements, and income potential.

The majority of JVS youth clients participate in Work Resource Program (WRP), which provides them with a foundation for participating in career exploration, job readiness, and job search skills.

Youth are provided opportunities to engage in a range of work-based exploration activities. The HS/HT program provided multiple job shadowing and site visit opportunities. JVS Youth Programs also provided youth with a range of on-the-job training experiences, including volunteer internships through VCSF, paid short-term work experiences through WorkLab, and paid internships though the HS/HT and WIA programs. HS/HT funds were used to enhance the full JVS program with particular emphasis on providing more high tech jobs.

Youth Development & Leadership Opportunities

JVS Youth Programs do not have a formal mentoring program. Informal adult-to-youth mentoring activities were provided primarily through the interactions that occurred during paid internships. JVS Youth Program staff attempt to match and support supervisors and youth in the workplace in order to facilitate a mentoring process. Youth were exposed to potential role models through a variety of means, including guest speakers, job-shadow hosts, and internship supervisors. Youth were provided ongoing, developmentally appropriate self-advocacy coaching and encouragement by JVS Youth Program staff. Additionally, WRP provided youth with multiple seminars on communication skills, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

HS/HT funds were used in part to support additional JVS activities. For example, the Youth Program provides personal leadership and youth development activities through a Counselor-in-Training Program and through a Youth Advisory Council. Additionally, youth with disabilities are exposed to training on disability culture and laws; for example, WRP lessons provide information on employment laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Individualized & Support Services (Connecting Activities)

HS/HT clients received individualized services to ensure that their physical, mental, and educational needs were met. Youth were provided mental heath and physical health services as needed through referrals to appropriate community agencies. Other youth were provided bus money as needed to participate in site visits or to accompany youth program staff to interviews. Tutoring services as needed were made available through referrals to appropriate community agencies. Post-program support was offered through internal arrangements with JVS WIA programs for out-of-school youth, and through external arrangements of collaborations with the City College of San Francisco and California Department of Rehabilitation.

For youth with disabilities, JVS’s Technology Access Center provides clients with many assistive technologies, including Zoom Text and screen readers. Youth were exposed to post-program supports such as independent living centers and other consumer-driven community-based support service agencies through internal referrals to JVS WIA programs for out-of-school youth, which, in turn, worked with local independent living centers and other community-based organizations to facilitate the transition from school to independent living.


Project Details

Project Summary

With respect to youth programs, JVS operates seven different programs that help youth with disabilities explore, experience, and transition to the world of work, including the following:

  • Work Resource Program (WRP) – a nationally honored, yearlong vocational training program for youth with disabilities offered in Special Education classrooms throughout the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD); WRP covers career exploration, work readiness and job search skills. Additionally, this program provides volunteer internship opportunities through collaboration with the Volunteer Center of San Francisco (VCSF), and employer site visits through collaboration with San Francisco School Volunteers (SFSV).
  • Youth Employment Programs – Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services for in-school and out-of-school youth with disabilities.
  • Mayor’s Youth Education and Employment Program (MYEEP) – year-round internships in public and nonprofit agencies.
  • REACH – an eight-week computer skills training program, offered three times per year for 15 youth per cycle, which covers Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and internet applications.
  • WorkLab – a High School/High (HS/HT) Program that includes services such as career exploration, job shadowing, employer site visits, and paid internships; also provides job development, placement, and support activities for youth with disabilities.

Project Services

The Youth Department serves youth ages 14 to 22 who have learning, emotional, or mental health disabilities. ODEP funding allowed JVS to develop and implement a HS/HT program for youth with disabilities as an extension of the continuum of youth programs already established at JVS. The HS/HT program served 53 youth with disabilities who were enrolled in or who had recently completed high school over the two-year ODEP grant cycle.

Data Collection and Use

JVS collects data from intake forms, assessments, ongoing meetings, and program satisfaction surveys; these sources generate a whole range of information necessary to provide appropriate client support in areas such as transportation, addressing family issues, and employment.

Data analysis includes evaluation of program and client outcomes, economic market trends, and local service needs. Information on disability is collected directly from each client and verified through the IEP or Mental Health Diagnosis. Specific disability information is not shared with persons outside of JVS unless release is specifically authorized by the client, parent, or both, as appropriate. Disability information is analyzed within the context of other available information collected from assessments. Accommodations and support needs are used in planning, decision-making, and outreach to facilitate best chance for success with client and program element matches.

Internally, partners’ goals related to roles and responsibilities for all JVS youth programs were established through regular and ongoing meetings with all Youth Department staff. JVS ensured that those with disabilities were involved in and exercised informed choice in the planning and implementation processes. Both internally and externally, cross-partner common measurable objectives were established through regular and ongoing meetings and consultations regarding the program and specific clients. Accountability was further ensured through the establishment of clear communications guidelines and the development of an internship handbook, which internship supervisors reviewed and signed.

Project Plans and Outcomes

JVS established goals relating to improving services across youth programs and specifically to the HS/HT program. Below are the goals and relevant results that were established specifically for the HS/HT project.

Goals Relevant Results
Work-Readiness Curriculum: Provide at least 300 youth with disabilities with an expanded work-readiness curriculum. Our work-readiness curriculum is a main component of WRP, which covers career exploration, work readiness, and job-search skills. Classes meet once per week for the duration of the school year. HS/HT expanded the WRP curriculum by providing workshops and seminars specifically on opportunities in the high tech field, such as web design and computer repair. This expanded curriculum will serve as the main vehicle for generating student interest in the HS/HT program. WRP participants will receive the expanded curriculum in order to enhance their knowledge of opportunities in the high tech field and access to HS/HT program services. The JVS goal was 300 youth, but only 100 actually received the enhanced curriculum as described above. These 100 youth, plus additional student recruitment through individual referrals from JVS youth staff, led to 53 enrollments in the HS/HT program. Interest in the HS/HT program was higher than expected among the WRP participants who received the expanded curriculum; because of this, and because the capacity to serve HS/HT enrollments was reached (and the enrollment goal of 40 was exceeded by 33%), the expanded curriculum was not offered as much as planned.
Youth Vocational Assessment: Provide 40 youth with a comprehensive vocational assessment that includes recommendations for services in the HS/HT program. Provided 53 youth with vocational assessments that resulted in enrollment and services in the HS/HT Program.

High Tech Work-Based Learning: Provide at least 30 youth with disabilities with work-based learning activities in the high tech field, including site visits, short-term work experience projects, and summer internships

Provided 43 youth with work-based learning activities, including internships for 20 youth, job-shadowing for 13 youth, site visits for 15 youth, and technology training for 28 youth. Note: Many youth participated in multiple opportunities within single program elements and many youth also participated in multiple program elements.

Access by Youth with Disabilities: Increase access and usability of programs, services, facilities, and technologies by youth with disabilities.

4.1: Case Management and Support: Provide long-term case management support to 30 youth with disabilities.

4.2: Cross-partner measurable objectives for the HS/HT program include an increased access to technology training and internships for youth with disabilities.

4.3: Customer Satisfaction: Use assessments, case notes, and satisfaction surveys to measure customer satisfaction.

4.4: Program Improvement and Increased Access: Allow for continuous improvements as appropriate and necessary to facilitate increased access and use of programs, services, facilities, and technologies.

Accessibility and usability of programs by youth with disabilities increased.

4.1: Long-term case management services were provided to 44 youth.

4.2: Increased access to technology training and internships happened primarily through contacting, and subsequently developing and fostering relationships with, local high tech companies, nonprofits with technology components, and technology training programs – that is, through networking and employer engagement. These efforts resulted in 30 internships, 19 job shadows, six site visits, and 28 youth participating in technology training.

4.3: According to assessments, case notes, and satisfaction surveys, 94% of youth agreed or strongly agreed that their job was a positive experience for them.

4.4: Improvements included addition of accessibility software in computer labs, training of staff about serving youth with disabilities, and training of staff on accessibility technology; additional changes in accessibility to facilities are forthcoming.

In addition, the Youth Department tracks a number of outcomes, including the following:

Category Numbers
Number of enrollments for HS/HT 53
Number of paid internships 30
Average length of employment Eight weeks

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