In 2014, Good Shepherd Services (GSS), committed to create Pathways to Success for Opportunity Youth, a comprehensive training initiative for 150 disconnected youth, ages 16-24, who are not in school or working in three high-poverty communities: Red Hook and Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn) and Fordham/Kingsbridge (Bronx). The initiative, which will launch in August 2014, will include job readiness training, academic support, paid internships, counseling, entrepreneurial opportunities, and coursework for certification in high demand industries. Participants will graduate with the hard and soft skills needed to complete secondary education and secure employment that will pay a living wage in high growth industries.
GSS will work with its existing Transfer Schools and Young Adult Borough Centers and residential programs to identify and engage students in these communities who are most at risk of dropping out or have already left school. GSS will provide evidence-based job readiness training and paid internship opportunities through its Learning to Work Initiative, partnerships with the Workplace Center, Columbia School of Social Work, and local non-profit organizations to help youth build careers and make life long connections to employment. In addition, GSS will engage its current corporate partners to expose youth to the world of work in the form of mentorship, job shadowing opportunities and professional development opportunities. GSS has a robust corporate engagement program with top firms in the country such as UBS, Barclays and Burberry and plans to engage them on this effort.
Through this commitment, GSS commits to harvesting best practices, enhancing existing services and developing new partnerships for workforce development.
Phase I (August 2014) - GSS' strategy when possible is to build on existing infrastructure rather than duplicate effort, using internal core competencies to add value to those of others. GSS will host (2) internal focus groups to identify existing capacity and expertise and other resources available to this population in the target neighborhoods.
Phase II (September 2014 -January 2015) -Using the findings from the focus groups, GSS staff will begin to map and catalog existing workforce development programs and develop the Pathways for Success for Opportunity Youth initiative.
Phase III (February 2015 - April 2015) - Conduct additional stakeholder meetings to share the program model with initial focus groups and potential public and private sector supporters of the pilot program.
Phase IV (May 2015) - Launch Pathways to Success for Opportunity Youth pilot program.
Phase V (May 2015 - July 2015) - Run pilot program.
Phase VI (August 2015 -October 2015)- Codification of the model conducted by the Program Evaluation and Planning Department (PEP) using its Performance Life Cycle Evaluation Model
Phase VII (Ongoing) - Monitor and Evaluation - collection of data on program performance.
According to Barriers to Entry: The Increasing Challenges Faced by Young Adults In the New York City Labor Market, in 2013, JobsFirstNYC estimated that up to 20 percent of all 18-24 year olds -or approximately 172,000 young adults -in NYC are neither in school nor working. Disconnected youth and those at-risk of becoming disconnected are academically, economically, and socially vulnerable and lack the resources necessary to make a successful transition to adulthood. Recognizing the costs to society, Good Shepherd Services works to break the cycle of negative outcomes for at-risk youth by investing in their potential.
Good Shepherd Services is a leading youth and family development and educational support agency with nearly 70 years of experience working with children, young people and families in high-need New York City communities. The agency offers more than 80 programs that serve over 26,000 participants annually throughout New York City (Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn). Good Shepherd Services seeks to address the needs of young people growing up in some of the highest-poverty communities of NYC and aims to launch an initiative, Pathways to Success for Opportunity Youth, to help them develop the skills necessary to achieve successful employment.
GSS seeks the following resources to launch its commitment to the Pathways to Success for Opportunity Youth program:
Financial sponsorship to support the program expenses.
Local employers that will provide internships and career exposure opportunities to participants.
Organizations with employee engagement programs in the New York City area to volunteer in a range of opportunities with youth, including career exploration and job readiness, education, recreation, financial literacy, mentoring, and in-kind needs
Public Relations and IT firms that can partner to provide trainings to youth.
Best practice information from organizations with similar job readiness and career training programs and curriculum.
Organizations that use a comprehensive conflict intervention model that provides participants with mediation, leadership development, and mentoring.
GSS has a 40-year history of successfully bringing needed community-based counseling and school-based resources to at-risk families in New York City. . The agency was one of the first in the nation to pioneer community-based programs. Today, GSS' network of services include after-school centers and summer camps, school-based support services, alternative high schools, college access and retention services, a domestic violence program, and services for court-involved youth. GSS is unique in its ability to provide a wide range of services, all united by a common Youth and Family Development approach. A leader in the field, GSS has a long history of addressing the needs of disconnected youth. Its innovative service models and programs ensure that children, youth, and their families are able to achieve their full potential.