Pinkerton Supports Internships for Young Adults in Foster Care
The Pinkerton Foundation will make grants of nearly $1 million to help eight of the city’s leading foster care agencies sponsor in-house mentored internships for the young adults they serve, Foundation President Rick Smith announced today. The goal of the initiative is to offer a “leg up” to young people who often face enormous challenges in the transition from foster care to the real world of work.
Pinkerton funding is being matched by City funds for staff training and stipends. The Administration for Children’s Services, along with Pinkerton, will support technical assistance to be provided by the Workforce Professionals Training Institute, the Youth Development Institute, New Ways to Work and Youth Communication. The NYC Center for Youth Employment will connect the foster care agencies to City funding streams to provide stipends for the internships.
The internships will be under the direct guidance of workplace mentors and take place in all departments and at all levels of the foster care agencies. Participating staff members will receive special training to augment their supervisory skills and to learn more about dealing with an often challenging young adult population.
“Our goal is not only to help the interns develop workplace skills,” said Pinkerton Vice President Laurie Dien, “but to go beyond traditional front-line social service workers and deepen a supportive culture in each of the organizations. We have been delighted by the enthusiastic response from the leadership of the foster care agencies, ACS and Center for Youth Employment.”
“This initiative has the capacity both to positively impact the lives of hundreds of young people in foster care, and to help drive larger system change in how we prepare youth for the world of work,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. ”We are thrilled to help bring together the private and public sectors to support young people aging out of foster care in achieving their employment and career goals.”
The initial phase of the program will serve roughly 25 young people between the ages of 16 and 21 at each of the participating agencies. The agencies include: Catholic Guardian Services, Children’s Aid Society, Children’s Village, Graham Windham Services to Families and Children, Good Shepherd Services, Heart Share St. Vincent Services, New York Foundling and Sheltering Arms. The technical assistance program will include training on: creating internship placements and job descriptions, internship monitoring, the development of a “train-the-trainer” program for workplace coordinators and the use of work-based educational exercises designed specifically for young people in foster care.
“Authentic work experiences with supportive adults available to guide and mentor is a proven formula that worked in our own lives,” said Jeremy Kohomban, President of Children’s Village. “Far too many black and brown children age out of foster care without the skills needed for success in the real world. We applaud the Pinkerton Foundation for their leadership."
Added Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David Hansell: “ACS is pleased to be a partner in this impressive effort. These internships are an important addition to the strategies that ACS and our partners are implementing under our Foster Care Strategic Blueprint to improve employment outcomes for youth in foster care.”
“This initiative is a natural for Pinkerton,” said Laurie Dien. “It combines so many of the foundation’s core interests: increasing opportunities for vulnerable young people, engaging caring adults to guide them and providing authentic work experiences to open their career horizons.”