Cradle to Career AmeriCorps VISTA Positions Available

Mayor Greg Fischer has announced the launch of the Cradle to Career AmeriCorps VISTAs program that brings 36 new VISTA positions dedicated to eliminating barriers that interfere with lifelong learning and success. These VISTAs will commit to performing a year of service at a partner site in Louisville and will implement key projects and programs linked to the Cradle to Career pipeline.

Partner Organizations include the Louisville Free Public Library, Jefferson County Public Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana, StageOne Family Theater, 55,000 Degrees, Jefferson Community and Technical College, KentuckianaWorks, Degrees Work, Louisville Metro Government, Greater Louisville Project, 15,000 Degrees, and the Louisville Urban League.

 

What Our VISTAs Have to Say

  • “The summer I spent with Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods through AmeriCorps helped engage my passion for Louisville and narrow my focus on improving Louisville for all citizens into a potential career.”-Laura Hammer, VISTA Summer Associate
  • “For my year of service, I am working with 55,000 Degrees as their Outreach Coordinator. Upon accepting this position, I had no idea what to expect, but in this short time I can honestly say it’s been nothing short of amazing: from being able to network and make great connections, to enhancing professional skills that will be useful in all of my future endeavors.” -Indigo Cornelison, 55K VISTA
  • ” I was still trying to find my purpose in life, but with joining AmeriCorps VISTA, I believe I have.  I wanted an opportunity to expand my skills as a professional and help my community here in Louisville.”-LuTisha Buckner, LFPL VISTA

 

Joining Our VISTA Team

We’re actively recruiting motivated and passionate individuals to join our VISTA team either by performing a summer or full-year of service. VISTAs receive benefits like a monthly living allowance, housing allowance, end of service award, YPAL membership, and health coverage to help support them during their period of service.

If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for these positions, visit www.ctocvistas.org or contact Ayla Murrell at amurrell0013@kctcs.edu for more information.

 

Employed Drop-Outs

Approximately 30% of young people (16 to 18 years) who have dropped out of high are working, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute. While the report indicates it is difficult to know whether these young workers left school to help support their families or they entered the labor market after dropping out, it does shed light on the demographic characteristics of these young workers.

More importantly, this report identifies possible strategies for re-engaging employed young people in school. Policy makers and educators could:

  • Create part-time or flexible school schedules. Approximately half of youth work fewer than 40 weeks per year and an average of 31 hours per week when working. A part-time, virtual or flexible school schedule would greatly benefit these working youth.
  • Assist families to access services. Youth in low-income families who do not access TANF, SSI, SNAP or Medicare or who have limited education are more likely to be working. Community programs that assist adult family members with employment, education and public assistance services can help youth stay in school.
  • Link youth with career-pathway jobs. Develop opportunities for young people to get part-time entry-level positions that provide viable job skills that can lead to higher paying jobs and encourage continued education.

Brookings Report: Unemployment Among Louisville’s Young Adults

“An increasingly diverse younger generation will make up a growing share of the workforce. Improving the educational and employment outcomes of blacks and Hispanics is critical to maintaining a skilled and competitive labor force”.

A report issued July 2015 by the Brookings Institute outlines the employment status of young adults in Louisville and Chicago, calling attention to the increasingly urgent need to address the skills gaps for the emerging workforce.  Partnerships between employers, educators, and community organizations that build strong pathways for Louisville’s young people could address the skills gap. Read the report…

Innovative Partnerships Build Pathways to Careers

New Publication: Creating Pathways to Employment for Opportunity Youth: The Role of Industry Partnerships in Preparing Low-Income Youth and Young Adults for Careers in High-Demand Industries (June 2015). Read the publication…

In response to employers’ call for more skilled workers and an alarming number of under-skilled youth and young adults, The National Fund for Workforce Solutions and Jobs for the Future, developed the Youth/Industry Partnership Initiative. Through this initiative, six local collaboratives were funded to test new models for training “opportunity youth” for high wage career pathways. This new report describes the collaborations between training providers, employers, and community organizations in this initiative.

 

KY Youth Advocates Highlight Disconnected Youth

The number of disconnected youth ages 16-24 in Kentucky  jumped 49 percent from 2000 to 2011. In Louisville, 14.0 percent of youth ages 16-24 are disconnected from education and employment. Data by counties and Congressional Districts further illustrate Kentucky is falling behind the nation in preparing young people for adulthood. “The lack of education, opportunity, and connection to school or work places youth at risk of long-term instability, leaves our 21st century economy without skilled employees, and increases spending on safety net programs.”

The Kentucky Youth Advocates is bringing attention to these data, their implications and recommended actions as described in recent national publications, Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adults Connections to Opportunity and Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities.

While the issues are complex, communities can act to reconnect 16 to 24 year olds who are not working and not in school. “We need to connect isolated, opportunity-scarce communities back into the wider society and create meaningful opportunities within them. Macro policy implications range from dispersing high concentrations of poverty by changing zoning laws and building low-income housing in mixed-income neighborhoods, to redesigning public support programs and services toward two-generation approaches that address the education and employment needs of parents while helping children thrive.”

Read the complete blog from KYA here

Secret Life of Homeless Students

As a child, Jessica lived with her mom in shelters and hotels. In high school, she was placed in foster care. “At 20, completely on my own, I needed an advocate, a mentor, a bossy guide to force me to take the harder road.”

Eventually, Jessica Sutherland did take the harder road and is now a TV producer, a writer, and the president and co-founder of Homeless to Higher Ed. She tells her story in a compelling story in Bright, The Secret Lives of Homeless Students.

View at Medium.com

Help for Homeless College Students

It may seem like an impossible task – managing the demands of college while struggling with homeless. In 2013, 58,000 students applying for federal financial aid reported they were homeless. Most of these youth and young adults are motivated, good students who understand how important their education is, yet often don’t know resources are available to help them.

Did you know, for instance,

  • homeless and low-income youth can receive assistance in paying for AP exams, ACT/SAT entrance exam fees, and college applications;
  • many colleges offer year round housing to young people who have unstable living situations and need somewhere to stay during school breaks;
  • financial aid and scholarships are available for homeless and economically independent youth.

Learn more about the medical, mental health, housing, financial aid, legal and other resources available at Help For Homeless College Students.

Mentor Support for Pre-College Teens

55,000 Degrees, a local initiative to increase the rate of college graduates, is partnering with eight universities in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, public and private school systems and several Louisville city organizations to offer face-to-face and virtual mentoring to high school students heading to college.

The program include one-on-one communication between a college-enrolled mentor and a prospective student, and a program in which students receive regular text and email reminders about important college dates.

“There’s a gap in support for (high school) students,” said Lilly Massa-McKinley, leader of the summer melt initiatives. “Even if a university might be sending out emails, there are a lot of barriers to enroll in the fall.” Courier Journal, July 9, 2015

So far this summer, 240 are participating in the free mentoring program. For more information, contact Jennifer Brophy, Summer Navigator Coordinator, at jennifer.mcgrew@jefferson.kyschools.us or visit the 55,000 Degrees website.

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Louisville’s Disconnected Youth and Young Adults

21,750 of all 16 to 24 year olds in Louisville/Jefferson Co, nearly one in seven, are neither working nor going to school, according to a report released last month by Measure of America.

The causes consequences can be complex and long-standing for individuals and the community-at-large. “Disconnected youth are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults.”

Focusing attention on the increased rates of disconnection for black and Latino youth, particularly for those living in highly-segregated neighborhoods, the report states communities must turn their attention to the root causes, not the symptoms, of disconnection.

“Knitting disconnected, opportunity-scarce communities into the fabric of our wider society and creating meaningful pathways within them is the answer to youth disconnection.”

Kristen Lewis, Co-Author of “Zeroing In On Race and Place: Youth Disconnection in American Cities”

For more information on the Louisville’s disconnected youth …

Employment and Education Outcomes of Foster Care Youth

Of 19 year old respondents currently or formally in foster care:

  • One-third (34%) reported being employed either full-time (24%) or part-time (12%);
  • Forty-four percent reported receiving at least one form of financial assistance (other than public assistance) including Social Security (14%), educational aid (24%), or some other form of financial support (15%);
  • 70% were attending school compared to 47% of youth who were no longer in care at age 19 (Note: completing secondary or post-secondary education is one of the reasons youth are able to remain in foster care after age 18).

Source: 2013 Issue Brief National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau requires states to conduct annual surveys of foster youth receiving independent living services through the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This report is a summary of national level data on the outcomes of 19 year olds who responded to the survey from Oct 2012 to Sept 2013.

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