FY 20 - HFY 1- Illumination Excel Program:
Increasing referrals has been the biggest challenge for the provider. Despite the outreach efforts; referring workers from various agencies have referred few youths. The staff then began focusing on families and the community to share information about the program which proved to yield more referrals than in the past. Despite the challenge, for the children who have enrolled, they come and participate consistently and have been completing the program and are prone to being employed.
In order to further develop the program, the Program Director submitted a proposal for shifting the focus of the program starting in January 2020 that will focus in the following areas: Transportation, Distribution & Logistics; Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security; and Hospitality & Tourism. The provider’s goal is to educate and train the youth through the weekly workshops, link them to appropriate vocational training programs within these industries, prepare and refer youth to employment, and build relationships with employers within these areas to afford youth opportunities for training, paid internships and employment.
The provider will also focus its outreach efforts more on families and communities since it has proven to serve more effective as parents and grandparents have called to refer their children to the program. The staff will revise outreach materials, conduct community forums and presentations at local community centers, churches, other community-based organizations, provide revised flyers and brochures within the targeted zip codes and begin forging allies with community members to increase program exposure and youth referrals.
PM: Number of youth served
PM: Number enrolled in academic program
PM: Number of youth who completed 12 week Illumination Excel Program
Illumination Excel Program did not meet the number of youth served target to include: the late start in the budget confirmation – October 2018, the time needed to start up a new program to meet the criteria established in the grant which entailed some changes to their previously establish Illumination Program, time needed to educate the community on this new program, and time necessary to engage the youth and encourage them to commit to a 12-week program.
The provider stated that while the Outreach Coordinator and Program Director reached out to the school system, Department of Juvenile services, Department of Social Services, other community-based organizations, etc., referring workers did not immediately begin referring youth. Outreach is a continuous effort needed to remind referring workers of this option available to eligible youth. The provider began receiving referrals more so towards the end of the contract year.
The provider is making efforts resolving some of their challenges by ensuring that staff are improving in on referring agencies and techniques that serve as more viable sources to identifying youth. The provider has put into place more direct ways of reaching the families and youth while still educating and reminding referring workers about the program. Staff are working with staff from apartment complexes and putting into place working with the faith community who has direct access to youth. Some youth/families are involved with other programs for reasons outside of workforce development and may need Illumination Excel services to address gaps in service delivery. The provider is also looking at identifying youth who have recently graduated from high school who are not employed, in a training program or pursuing higher education.
Most of the youth that were enrolled during the fiscal year met the goal . Although only one youth did not meet this goal, because the number of youth enrolled were low, the percentage of those that successfully met the goal was 75% instead of 80%. One of the challenges that the provider found with some of the youth that were enrolled in FY19 was the fact that some of the youth often dealt with emotional and mental health issues that impeded them from moving forward with their goal. The staff found that there was a need, while working with the youth, to access and offer the youth and families other resources to address the emotional and mental health needs. The Program Director has secured interns to help the youth navigate systems, work towards their Individual Career Plan, and conduct weekly check-ups/follow-ups on the youth to ensure there are no new issues that go unaddressed or undetected. This should increase the likelihood that at least 80% of the youth meet this goal.
HFY1: The Illumination Excel Program targets disconnected youth and their goal is to assist all young people to thrive by providing encouragement, support, resources, and opportunities to develop their intellectual ability and social behavioral skills; positive bonds with people and institutions; integrity and moral centeredness; positive self-regard, self-efficacy, and courage; and humane values, empathy, and sense of social justice.
Illumination Excel provides youth with career exposure and assists youth with development. The program also provides youth with mentoring services and offers disconnected youth academic support and cultural enrichment.
Illumination Excel provides youth with career exposure and development, multiple pathways to employment and community service/engagement.