Foundation investments in real work experience for vulnerable youth can improve their understanding of the value of education, encourage higher self-esteem and ambition, and improve their prospects for future employment.
Domus Kids’s Trafigura Work & Learn Business Center in Stamford, which offers high-risk youth ages 16 to 23 both soft employment skills, such as workplace conduct, job search techniques and the keys to job retention, and real work experience in bicycle and small engine repair, woodworking, culinary arts and cosmetology, providing youth the incentive to stay in school and graduate.
Youth involved in Domus’ charter high school for high-risk youth, the city of Stamford’s alternative school program or the courts make up most of the Trafigura Center’s population. These youth are academically challenged and face significant obstacles to further education and employment. Of the approximately 150 youths served annually, more than 90% improve their skills, which include completing a resume and filling out a job applications, and obtain a marketable skill through their participation in a youth business. More than 40% transition into a job after graduating from the program. Domus’ success has attracted attention from the regional labor board, which is referring youth, and other youth employment programs seeking to replicate its services.
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