LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2018 – Students at Hillsides Education Center (HEC), a nonpublic therapeutic school for students in first – 12th grade, can now have access to career counseling as part of their school courses. Beginning with the 2018 winter semester, high school juniors and seniors can take advantage of a Hillsides workforce development program, the Career Club, which teaches them employment skills. Students learn how to write a resume, ace a job interview, and deal with workplace stress and conflict, among other lessons taught. By the end of the 18-week class, the goal is for students to be work ready. They will also be eligible for paid internships.
“Many of our students are or were in foster care or face other severe challenges. We know that when children in foster care emancipate from the system, they often fall into the cracks and are unable to find jobs. This career club will be key in helping our students not only succeed in school, but in life,” said Hillsides Education Director and HEC principal Lupe Gonzalez.
The Career Club curriculum is already in use at Hillsides Youth Moving On (YMO) Program, which serves youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood. The class was developed with the support of The Deutsch Foundation and the expertise of Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Over the last several years, hundreds of local youth have been trained and gone on to find paid internships or jobs through dozens of local businesses and organizations through the Career Club.
So far, the 11 HEC students enrolled in the career class are enjoying the lessons, taught by YMO Workforce Development Specialist Joshua Mathieu. Tay*, 18, who hopes to land an internship in the music industry, said he found the resume-creating session the most helpful so far. “I had been trying to create one on my own, and it was hard,” he said. “[The class] gave me a template to use that made it easy.”
Another student, Megan, found the communication skills class the most beneficial. “It’s teaching me about what to say and not to say on the job and how to interact with co-workers.”
The addition of workforce training to Hillsides’ school indicates a broader shift throughout the agency to continue to address the needs of transition-aged youth 16 – 25 in the community. “The more our programs can collaborate with each other to create the best possible outcomes for youth, the better,” said Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa. “I look forward to more collaboration between our YMO program and our school, and look forward to hearing of all the success stories that come out of this workforce class.”
The YMO Career Club curriculum is also expanding to the larger community. Beginning this month, it is being offered to students at Pasadena City College who are part of the Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support (CAFYES) Program called NextUp for students in foster care.
HEC, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2017, offers residential and day individualized education for students experiencing social-emotional, learning, and/or behavior challenges. To learn more about the school, please visit www.hillsideseducationcenter.org. Hillsides’ YMO Program, founded in 2006, offers a continuum of support services for transition-aged youth 16 – 25 that includes housing services, a Peer Resource drop-in center, and workforce development. For more information, please visit www.youthmovingon.org. YMO and HEC are two of Hillsides five core programs. The other three are a residential treatment services program, Family Resource Centers offering mental health counseling and other services, and a foster care and adoption program.
Hillsides, with its affiliate Bienvenidos, is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.
*First names used only to protect the privacy of Hillsides’ clients.