SER-Jobs for Progress National, Inc. (SER) will implement the YouthWorks Program to provide comprehensive year-round youth services in Northwest and Southwest Dallas County, focusing on areas of high need in Grand Prairie and Irving, that will offer youth participants the opportunity to engage in educational achievement, work experience, and employment with career growth in a seamless service delivery system, while meeting the critical labor needs of employers and meeting all performance and outcome mandates.
The YouthWorks Program’s overall innovative approach, design and strategies are built upon the cornerstones of intensive engagement and youth leadership participation and composed of three development areas: Educational Opportunities, Career Success and Leadership Development. Through the four service delivery stages, the YouthWorks Program will serve a minimum of 250 youth, with out-of-school youth comprising no less than 90% of enrollments. Highlights of the Program Services include:
- PLATO Learning – online tool to assist with basic skill building and GED preparation
- SER Career Prep High School – an online high school that focuses on one of six career pathways
- CareerWorks training – Career readiness training that integrates financial literacy, life skills and leadership development, with a comprehensive career awareness and exploration component
- Work Experience opportunities for all youth
- Youth-designed and implemented service learning projects
- Youth-designed and implemented Career and Job Fairs
SER will focus recruitment on the hard-to-serve, out-of-school youth population, including youth in foster care, those aging out of foster care, youth offenders, homeless youth, school drop-outs, youth in single parent families, pregnant or parenting teens and youth who are basic skills deficient. SER will provide services to all diverse youth populations; however, SER has a strong background in effectively serving Hispanic and African American youth.
SER’s strategies for implementing the YouthWorks Program allow for a seamless service delivery system that will result in a career path, productive employment, high wages and retention, and include:
- Use of a “saturation” approach; that is, providing as many services as it takes for him/her to succeed by addressing the personal, societal, academic, environmental, and professional challenges.
- Implementing an innovative career-focused service delivery system that encourages all youth upon program initiation to plan for careers and effectively engages the hard-to-serve youth;
- Ensuring intensive engagement and youth leadership participation are cornerstones of the program;
- Integration with WFSDallas system and other contractors to achieve seamless service delivery;
- Establishing systems that encourage continuous improvement in services and performance, and set the program on its path to exceed performance measures;
- Building upon the deep roots that SER has within targeted communities to support outreach;
- Bringing resources through community partnerships that will support innovation, non-duplication; and,
- Strengthening the extensive relationships that SER has with major employers, specifically employers in the targeted occupations, and engaging the employers in new ways.
SER will deliver integrated program services at the existing workforce centers in Grand Prairie and Irving. Each workforce center will have an assigned SER staff member as a designated liaison and will be hubs for outreach, recruitment, and intake of youth participants. SER will dedicate specific Youth Services times and/or areas at each workforce center. Further, SER will, as necessary, deliver services after hours on weekdays until 7:00PM and on Saturdays. SER will also coordinate with other community partners such as Debes Creer en Ti and the City of Grand Prairie in order to establish additional service delivery sites as needed, ensuring that locations are accessible to youth.