Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life
What role do relationships play in fostering workforce development and career readiness among ‘risk-immersed’ youth? Center for Promise researchers visited four programs across the country – Café Momentum in Dallas, Per Scholas in the Bronx, Urban Alliance in Washington, D.C., and Year Up in the Bay Area – to learn how they meet the wide-ranging needs of young people they serve while preparing them for careers.
Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life provides a summary of several bodies of literature that have shaped career development interventions for young people, describes each career development and workforce readiness program in more detail, and shares findings and common themes that emerged across program sites. This study builds on the Center for Promise’s work examining the importance of relationships for keeping young people in school and on a path to adult success.
Through interviews, observations, and document review, the research team explored three specific questions:
- What role do relationships play in these programs?
- How do these programs work to foster relationships?
- What role do relationships play in promoting successful job placement?
Four major findings emerged from this research:
- Relationships come first.Each program places relationship-building between young people and program staff at the forefront of their models.
- Webs of support are integral to the program design.In each program, there’s more than just one adult focused on the young people’s well-being and development. They have what the researchers refers to as a web of support—a network of individuals that provides a young person with varying levels and types of support.
- Relationships endure and extend beyond the program.Each program fosters webs of support for their participants beyond the program.
- Relationship-building approaches differ depending on whom the program serves.Each program takes a different approach to relationship-building, depending on the needs and strengths of the young people they serve.
This research study is part of the Youth Opportunity Fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance. The Fund provides grants to nonprofits working in innovative ways to place low-income young adults on a path toward college and career success in 10 cities across the United States.
The 5 Promises
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below: