Youth Employment Initiative (Garrett County FY17 and Beyond) - Annual

Story Behind the Curve

For FY21, The Western MD Consortium staff provides youth with the opportunity for structured work experiences, opportunities to assist youth in meeting educational goals through workforce training programs, GED programs, math and reading remediation classes, and mentoring to provide youth with the soft skills needed to succeed in the workforce.  Due to budget cuts, funding for the YEI was cut 15% leaving $4,250 to use for the program.  With just a little over 4K to spend for FY21, the target goal of youth participants to serve through this program was two.  

For FY20, the COVID-19 pandemic created a shutdown of all work experiences managed by the Western Maryland Consortium for several weeks during the months of March and April.  The COVID-19 shutdown created a barrier to those wanting to work and the corresponding businesses looking for help.

For HFY1 20, the Youth Employment Initiative program was renamed last year by the directive of the Garrett County Local Management Board to reflect the use of funding availability year-round, not just during the summer months.  As a result of this change, the Scorecard had to be adjusted to collect data both semi-annually and annually.  In order to do this, previous annual data had to be removed and stored to convert the card to reflect both semi-annual and annual reporting.  Some measures are still reported annually (at the end of the program) such as CSQ-8 data, permanent employment outcome measures, and SCANS pre-post test information which accounts for the lack of data on the Scorecard for HFY1 20.

Partners

Western Maryland Consortium, The Court System, Garrett County Department of Social Services, Garrett County Health Department, Garrett County Community Action, and Learning Beyond the Classroom.

Strategy

The work experience provided by the Youth Employment Initiative Program is an opportunity for trainees to develop skills and positive work behaviors to apply to their current and/or future employment.  Encouragement is given for youth to attend GED classes in order to obtain a high school diploma.  Counseling is given for any and all attendance issues.

Strategies to improve these indicators

For FY19, the Youth Employment Initiative Program will work on the following performance areas based on FY18 performance data:

Attendance -  in general, was a performance area that had to be addressed for most work sites.  Other categories such as punctuality, response to supervision, cooperation and working with others, dependability, and overall effectiveness were proficient or above.  

Quality of work, knowledge of work/training, and taking initiative - proficient or exemplary.  An incentive program is being considered for those showing significant improvement in areas such as attendance, dependability, quality of work, and overall effectiveness.  Additional funding may be needed to execute this accomplishment.  Gift/gas cards could be used to promote improvement in these areas.

Program Summary

The Garrett County Local Management Board provides funding for Garrett County youth in conjunction with the Western Maryland Consortium through the Youth Employment Initiative program.  All youth are identified by the Western Maryland Consortium as being economically disadvantaged and having a barrier to overcome for employment to qualify for the program.  Many of the participants served through this program have experiences with system involvement.  The definition of system involvement varies from juvenile service to teenage pregnancy.  The youth are carefully screened by order of need for assistance through the Western Maryland Consortium.  The youth are provided an opportunity to decide the type of desired work and the preferred site they wish to work.  Worksite placement is based on preference, the proximity of worksite to the residence, transportation resources, and worksite needs and required accommodations.  Supervision and guidance are provided by worksite supervisors to develop within the participant an understanding of proper work habits and work attitudes.  The premise of the program is to provide a foundation for which future job skills can be built.  All youth are provided an orientation prior to the first day at the worksite.   Rules and objectives of the employment program are discussed as well as worksite expectations.  Safety procedures and equipment are given to all participants.  Participants receive evaluations at the beginning and the end of the program from which to base improvements and goals for the future.

Target Population

The target population for the FY21 Youth Employment Initiative program is youth ages 16 to 24, who meet at least one or more of the following criteria: 

  • School dropout
  • Basic skills deficient
  • Low Income
  • Offender (any stage)
  • Homeless or foster youth
  • Parenting or pregnant youth
  • Low income
Governor's Strategic Goal

Improving Outcomes for Disconnected/Opportunity Youth.

Local Highlight

FY 21 Local Highlights:

  • A Garrett County youth enrolled in the Youth Employment Initiative program who had recently aged out of the foster care system and was residing with distant family members.  
  • His skills were developed at an Auto Dealership working 35 hours a week. 
  • He was moved to the Body Shop and enrolled in the Youth Employment Initiative program.
  • He completed his work experience with the program and was hired full-time at the worksite.

FY 20 Local Highlights:

  • A Garrett County youth who enrolled in the Youth Employment Initiative program for FY20 was encouraged through the program to enroll in Garrett Community College.  He has maintained good grades and continues to do good work at the job site.  
  • A Garrett County youth with a history of drug addiction and system involvement enrolled in the Youth Employment Initiative program and was connected with a work experience that turned into a full-time, permanent position.  This youth was also able to celebrate being 2-years drug-free on July 6, 2020.

FY19 Local Highlights:

  •  OJT (On the Job Training) work experience that resulted in full-time employment for one client.
  •  Client was able to complete his work experience; he was unable to do so the prior summer.  
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