Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Services
The WIOA Youth Services program provides assistance to at-risk, economically disadvantaged youth. Initially, staff works with each youth to establish a comprehensive, individual service plan that targets educational and employment related goals. Youth receive assistance with high school completion, enrollment in college or certification programs, basic skills tutoring, credit recovery, and work readiness training.
Program participants may also have the opportunity to build their work history through paid work experience. The training component offers youth a glimpse into the real world requirements, challenges and opportunities of the workforce. Youth are placed at job sites and work alongside their staff to gain invaluable workplace experience.
The program offers numerous opportunities for youth to explore career options and assists youth with getting started in desired career field. Pre-apprenticeships, job shadowing, paid internships and on-the-job training, which provides training reimbursement dollars to employers, are just a few examples of program benefits.
Y.O.U. currently offers this program in Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Calhoun, and Branch counties.
Credit Recovery & Graduation (CRG)
The CRG program is funded by a private grant to provide an alternative resource for secondary students that find themselves credit deficient. After students have been referred to the CRG program by school counselors, they have the opportunity to recover credits and stay on track for high school graduation by utilizing GradPoint online curriculum. GradPoint is derived from Pearson Education’s world-renowned instructional content and is proven cutting edge software that educators use across the globe.
The program is designed to encourage youth drop-outs to complete secondary education. Re-enrollment in public school, GED prep/testing, Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes, online high school credit recovery courses, and computer skill development to increase basic skills are offered. Other assistance provided includes job search, job applications, resume and interview skill development.
A recently implemented component of the program is the addition of a work experience incentive. This work experience incentive will not only help the participants financially but participants will be able to cultivate work skills that will follow them for the rest of their careers. Participants are placed into worksites where they are trained and supervised by the employer, teaching them invaluable skills to help them become successful in life.
Summer Youth Employment Program
In partnership with the City of Kalamazoo, Y.O.U. offers a six-week paid work experience program during the summer. Students learn valuable job skills which are transferrable to the labor market, create a resume, participate in educational workshops focused on employability skills, and visit educational institutions and employers to learn about training and job opportunities available in in-demand industries, all while earning a wage.
This often first time employment experience for youth helps then learn the needed soft and transferable skills necessary to be successful in a competitive job market.
The Value of Experience
Participants had this to say about the Y.O.U. summer program.
“Two ways I improved my job performance this summer were to be on time and dress appropriately. This will show I am reliable for future jobs.”
“I learned I can really do a job. I was not sure I would know what to do and be able to work, but now I know that I can!
“This can help me be more ready for a leadership position in any job I get.”
Jobs for Michigan's Graduates (JMG)
Jobs for Michigan's Graduates (JMG) is a state affiliate of the national Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) program. JMG is focused on raising high school graduation rates by expanding mentoring, job readiness, leadership development, and other academic support for students either at-risk of dropping out or those who already have dropped out.
Utilizing the JAG national curriculum which equips students with a minimum of 37 employability competencies and intensive career exploration opportunities, students earn school credit while preparing for their future.
The goal is for students to earn a high school diploma or GED, secure a quality entry-level job, pursue a post-secondary education, and/or seek career advancement opportunities.
General Educational Development (GED)
In cooperation with Kalamazoo Adult Education, Y.O.U. offers GED preparation to program participants. Remedial Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes are offered to those students who fall below minimum standards necessary to participate in GED programs.