UNITE-LA Today: Foster Youth a Focus of Workforce Study

UNITE-LA was front and center at last month's California Workforce Associations' Youth Summit.

The Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative (LA OYC), with UNITE-LA, presented key findings from a 2023 study on youth engagement in workforce programs focused on foster and former foster youth in L.A. County. Launched in 2019, the Automated Referral System (ARS) aims to simplify connections between child welfare workers and public workforce services. The study, set to be released this year, features interviews and focus groups with youth referred through the ARS, and provides crucial insights into their experience accessing workforce programming. Presenters, including UNITE-LA's Director of Workforce Systems and Policy, Amber Chatman, with LA OYC co-conveners Melanie Ferrer-Vaughn and Ena Volic and the Department of Economic Opportunity's Vincent Malone, shared recommendations based on youth-centered design and healing-centered engagement principles. The presentation highlighted the significance of relationship-building and aligning services with foster youths' unique interests and needs, offering valuable takeaways for creating more inclusive workforce programs. View the presentation.

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