Knowledge Equals Youth Success (KEYS) (Prince George's County FY18 and beyond) Annual

Story Behind the Curve

FY 21 - KEYS Program

PM: Number/ Percent of youth served

PM: Number/ Percent of youth who obtained employment within 12 months

SUCCESSES:

  • The KEYS Program successfully recruited 578 potential participants
  • KEYS served 49 youths or 69% of the targeted 65 youths to be serves.
  • 2 KEYS Program participants have successfully obtained their Information Technology Certifications.
  • 16 participants (33%) gained employment
  • Staff connected with approximately 87 youths that have expressed interest in the program for FY22. 

CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES:

  1. Youth Retainment at All Stages of The Program

A reoccurring challenge that the KEYS team experienced in FY 21 is retaining recruits at all stages of the process. Recruits failed to return phone calls, texts, emails, and literally removed themselves from contact with the outreach team even after several attempts to reconnect with the recruits.

          Strategies:

          Outreach Efforts:

    • KEYS participated in various summer Job Fairs in the community
    • KEYS connected with Prince George's County Public schools
    • KEYS participated in outreach/community events to identify additional recruits and strategize to retain the recruits for FY 22. 
    • In June 2021, numerous information sessions were facilitated by the Outreach and Recruitment Specialist to community partners and Prince George's County high schools.
    • KEYS used social media posts to connect with new recruits. 
    • Staff and participants utilized the Remind app: staff connected with participants quickly to send updates or alerts via text or email.
    • KEYS used Gift card as incentives to encourage recruits to participate in KEYS programming and this strategy is very helpful to keep the recruits engaged.
    • KEYS offered participants loaner Chromebooks/Wi-Fi to assist participants to successfully attain their educational/employment goals.
  1. Applicants’ Failure to Meet Application Deadlines

Despite clear instructions from the KEYS team, a great number of applicants were unable to submit the required documentation with submission of their virtual application. 

Strategies:

  • KEYS staff utilized the Career Edge platform versus the Maryland Workforce Exchange during the recruitment/onboarding process to ensure quick and efficient communication with the recruits.
  • KEYS staff constantly reach out to applicants to provide support and encourage applicants to submit applications to meet the deadlines.

The outreach and recruitment team continues to follow up with past applicants and offers incentives for recruit referrals, connects with over fifty community partners, and are researching promotional opportunities on local radio stations. The KEYS program will continue to use these strategies and other initiatives to meet their targeted number of youths to be served in FY 22.

 

FY 21- HFY1

KEYS:

Employ Prince George’s- KEYS program served 38 new youth which is 58% of the targeted number to be served for FY 21. Due to COVID-19, the KEYS Program encountered challenges in transitioning to a virtual system which directly impacted the number of youths they can serve in 2021.  On April 27, 2021, KEYS enrolled 7 new youths in the last cohort for FY21, which will increase the number of youths to 45 (69%). To address this challenge, the KEYS program implemented new processes to ensure the agency is equipped to provide their complete array of services virtually. These processes are:

  • Docu-share System- A cloud-based software, which enables the agency to standardize and automate their document control processes, lay a foundation for regulatory compliance and develop a long-term framework for operational excellence. this system allows staff to process training requests, purchase orders as well as payment requests.
  • Maryland Workforce Exchange System- A system that allows potential and current participants to upload their eligibility documentations in the case management system versus submitting in person. In addition, KEYS is in the process of finalizing their program structure in order to make all functions virtual instead of the traditional structure. The KEYS program also experienced some staff retention during COVID-19 and are in the process of hiring and training new staff.
  • Access to Computer Equipment for Participants- Provide technical devices (phones, tablets, laptops) to participants to eliminate barriers to enrollment and completion the Workforce Development program.
  • Increase outreach and virtual connection with clients- Increase engagement with youth using the application: Remind App. Utilizing this App, program staff have increased communication with participants and can virtually and instantaneously remind participants about program activities, training dates and times, and documentation deliverables. 

During FY21, 29 youths obtained employment within 12 months i.e., 26 were served at the end of FY20 and received employment during the first half of FY21 and 3 new youth gained employment in FY21. The success of this performance measure is attributed to the following:

  • Increased Business Partnerships-The provider connected participants to community partners and local businesses for career exploration and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Expanded Resources/Services Through Community Partners- The provider has coordinated with community partners to provide transportation assistance, professional work garments, digital & technology assistance, workforce and occupational skills scholarships, and paid internships.

The KEYS Program continues to work diligently to ensure that they provide services to the population that they serve. 

 

 

FY 19 HFY2

Employ Prince George’s – KEYS Program failed to meet the following targets by the end of the FY 19:

  • PM: Number of youth who attended an occupational skill training program within 12 month 
  • PM: Number of youth who obtain employment within 12 months.

KEYS provided services to youth who have tremendous barriers to employment. A number of the program participants came from various backgrounds; ranging from homeless, pregnant or parenting, foster care, ex offender, disabilities, and deficient literacy/math skills. Several of the provider’s participants have substance abuse and mental health issues that can cause them to be unemployable. Many of the participants have personal home life barriers such as: caring for siblings or other family members, transportation barriers, nonexistent problem solving skills, so they fail to show up, call, and take personal responsibility (even after being taught the skills).  These barriers made it difficult to place some of the participants into training or employment. The process of gaining employment ranges from three to eight months and is an ongoing process. The provider will continue to provide services to participants and find ways to assist participants in finding other resources that may help them with challenging issues and resources to assist the youth in improving their mental health issues and help them to break some of the barriers and challenges that they are facing in their daily lives.

 

PM - Better Off Measure: Number of youth who attain their certificate or GED within 12 months

 

During FY 19- Keys provided direct services to youth who already earned a high school diplomas/ GED certificate. However; whenever youth who did not have a high school diploma or GED seeked services with the agency, staff referred the youth to other programs that provided GED prep courses to qualified youth.  

PM: Number of youth who increased their skills while enrolled in the program within 10 months

KEYS served 67 youth during FY 19. However; the data shows that 77 youth actually increased their skills during FY 19. The number of youth who increased their skills is greater than the number of youth served because 10 youth from the previous fiscal year (FY 18) were still enrolled in the program during FY 19.  The number from FY 18 overlapped with the number of youth serve in FY 19.  

 

HFY1: Transitioning into FY19, KEYS is ensuring that the GOC cohort participants are intentionally being recruited as disconnected youth through their “Beat The Street Team”. This program has always trended positively due to their innovative and personable recruitment strategies. Their recruitment staff is of a similar demographic of the community, therefore when they go to engage to find disconnected youth it is easy for them to engage with them.

Program Summary

The Knowledge Equals Youth Success (KEYS) program provides career pathways, training, credential attainment, and supportive services to youth and young adults who face significant barriers to employment. The KEYS program establishes partnerships with local organizations, youth and young adults to receive one-on-one career training, hands-on work experience, soft skills training and various customized services that will prepare them for completing their academic and/or employment goals.

The program is designed to provide youth ages 16 to 24 with the necessary tools to become competitive in the workforce. Participants are recruited by the “Beat the Street Team,” a dedicated group of outreach staff that work in the community to identify and recruit disconnected youth. 

FY20 Vendor: Employ Prince George's
 

Target Population

Youth between the ages of 16-24 yrs. old who are not in school or not employed using the Beat Street Outreach Team surrounding Suitland High School and Largo High School that have 19% and higher drop-out rate.

Data Discussion

The Data is not showing on the platform for the follwoing measure:

FY 19- FHY1 – FHY2

PM: Number of youth who obtain employment within 12 months (Annual)

 

 

FY19 enrollment number for youth served has been low, however after speaking with provider, the next monthly report should reflect a larger amount because they are now accepting students on a rolling basis (granted they meet the basic requirements)

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