New job training program focuses on foster youth
In San Diego County, there are currently over 2,500 youth in the child welfare system. The San Diego Workforce Partnership has a new program that will provide workforce readiness and other support for those young people.
Why it matters
The Career Pathways for Foster Youth program is being led by people with lived experience in the foster care system. Sal Terrones, who is the foster youth liaison for the San Diego Workforce Partnership is one of them.
“A lot of the issues that our youth are faced with in San Diego County or across the nation, it doesn’t happen at the interview table, it’s happening at home. A lot of our youth are faced with homelessness, food insecurities, they have children and can’t afford daycare, things in that sense,” Terrones said.
By the numbers
San Diego County is funding this program to combat issues like high levels of unemployment among foster youth and high rates of homelessness.
“When it comes to employment, by age 21, 75% of California’s general youth population had a full or part-time employment as compared to 51% of those in California that had foster care experience,” San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas said.
This program includes help with housing, mental health care, transportation and even childcare. But the main focus is on support for finding a job, paid internships, education and access to training programs
“If they want to become a veterinarian technician, we have a vet tech program. If they want to get into IT or cybersecurity, we have an IT and a cybersecurity program and these are either at no to little cost to our youth. So it’s a great alternative to obtaining a higher education without the cost,” Terrones said.
Terrones wants current foster youth to know, “No matter where they are in life, they are going to achieve their goals, but it’s a matter of connecting with organizations like San Diego Workforce Partnership and our program Career Pathways just to help alleviate some of those barriers so that their path to success is much more seamless.”
Applications for the program are currently open to current or former foster youth ages 16 to 24 who live in San Diego County. Go to workforce.org/fosteryouth.