Spring is almost here and with that brings warmer days, flowers blooming, and Pre-K enrollment! Our classrooms are in full swing for another successful year. Pre-K Counts classrooms operate Monday-Friday, 6 hours a day, and typically follow the school district...
Two Amazing Youth Program Opportunities for 2023!
Head Start / Early Head Start FAQs The Private Industry Council discusses frequently asked questions for Head Start and Early Head Start students. Private Industry Council operates the Head Start / Early Head Start program for Beaver and Fayette Counties in the...
The Private Industry Council’s Experience Works! and Youth Re-Entry Programs are kicking off the start of the 2023 with a variety of opportunities for youth in both Fayette and Westmoreland counties. Experience Works! focuses on providing experience and skills for youth entering the workforce, while the Youth Re-Entry Program focuses on youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system.
The Experience Works! program is funded through the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and allows youth between the ages of 15-24 to gain valuable work experience for 240 hours at $11.50 an hour. Youth can explore a career path that interests them by working at one of the many worksites across Fayette and Westmoreland counties, with occupations from construction, childcare, animal training, graphic design, elections, and many more. Experience Works! provides an environment that will help youth succeed by equipping them with the skills and knowledge that are needed for their future. Youth set short-term goals to work towards while in the program and receive guidance and resources to help achieve them. A Young Adult in the 2022 program, a sophomore in high school, was trying to find a career path that she could work towards after she graduated. By participating in the Experience Works! program, she received career and educational research assistance from staff as well as spoke to a professional within the occupation that interested her. The youth used the resources provided through the program to gain more knowledge and become more confident in her decision to major in Psychology once she has graduated. This youth is one of many from the 2022 year that have succeeded expectations, found an interested career field, and gained more confidence in the future ahead of them. While Experience Works! is beneficial for many youth, there is another program offered by the Private Industry Council, that provides a different focus with other opportunities for youth in both Fayette and Westmoreland county, which is the Youth Re-Entry program.
The Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board (WIB) funded Youth Re-Entry Program provides mentorship and goal setting opportunities for youth (ages 16-25) who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. During the first meeting, the Youth Re-Entry mentor sits down with each participant to outline at least 3 goals to work towards while in the program. The participants receive cash incentives for achieving those goals, attending meetings with their mentors, and completing surveys to help improve the program. In addition, each participant is allotted funding to assist in obtaining things that are needed to help reach their goals. Examples of items youth can use this funding for is covering the financial costs of participating in a driving school, work clothes, rent, utilities, transportation, education, etc. Youth that have barriers due to their history with the juvenile justice system have benefitted greatly from this program. A young adult who participated in the Youth Re-Entry program in 2022 had joined a year after dropping out of high school. She was without a permit or drivers license and was not set up with reliable health insurance. This youth set goals to improve her situation and with her mentor’s help, she got enrolled for government health care where she qualified for both medical and dental coverage. Through resources provided by the mentor she was able to enroll in free weekly GED prep classes and obtain her license through the Education and Technology Institute’s (ETI) Driving school. The Youth Re-Entry staff are proud of the participants taking part in this program and have had the honor of working with them to overcome immense barriers to better their lives for the future.
Both the Experience Works! and Youth Re-Entry Programs provide wonderful opportunities to help youth move closer to their life goals. Not only do these programs offer financial benefits and mentorship from caring staff, but the youth often move onto bigger and better things with a sense of accomplishment and confidence in themselves that was not always there. In the end, it is our mission to help each youth grow and believe that they have what it takes to succeed.