Youth Work Readiness Program
The Youth Work Readiness Program is funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and by Iowa Workforce Development to promote educational/vocational success for youth ages 14 to 18. A Youth Development Specialist can work with youth until graduation or until they achieve their educational goals, followed by a 12-month follow up period. Children & Families of Iowa receives referrals from school counselors, therapists and social workers in Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and Warren counties.
After initial academic and employment assessments are complete, youth work with their Youth Development Specialist to identify goals at school, the workplace, or both, with an emphasis on graduation, post-secondary education and job experience. Guidance is provided with resume writing and job interviewing skills, and group classes are offered on pre-employment, job retention, leadership and independent living skills. Youth Development Specialists also facilitate community service projects, job shadows, internships and paid employment.
Through a partnership with Junior Achievement, all participating youth receive financial literacy and vocational “soft skills” training. Youth will have their reading assessed, and many will be referred for tutoring through a partnership with the Iowa Reads program. Youth who need assistance with computer skills can take computer literacy classes through a partnership with DMACC. In addition, youth will be able to utilize the entire range of Children & Families of Iowa’s services depending on each individual’s needs.