“Providing Support for the Well Being of the Community”
Angel of God Resource Center, Inc.
14527 S. Halsted Riverdale, IL 60827 (708) 392-9323
The Community Youth Employment Program (CYEP) funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, requires a holistic approach to unsubsidized employment for transition-age youth (16-24). This approach will account for the youth’s physical, emotional, social, and mental health needs while helping them to secure and sustain employment and/or achieve higher education ensuring a greater likelihood of success and self-sufficiency. In an effort to foster healthy, safe, well-educated, and self-sufficient transition-age youth in Illinois, and provide eligible youth with educational enhancement opportunities, full and part-time job placements, and case management services to include life skills, counseling and work readiness for both in-school and out-of-school youth.
Creating a path forward for transition-aged youth requires a holistic approach that considers all aspects of the youth’s realities and needs including both employment and education. For youth to successfully connect into the employment and education world there needs to be access to support that is comprehensive and coordinated including addressing an array of basic needs such as housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, legal support, and connection to the community.
Services must also be developmentally appropriate and tailored to address the unique needs of the youth. Research on adolescent brain development finds that executive functioning and self-regulation skills are not fully developed until youth are in their mid-twenties. These are the critical skills that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. The brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses. CYEP program models must consider these facts when designing how youth will be served in their programs. These youth have unique strengths and challenges that must be embraced as part of their preparation for education and employment opportunities. A developmentally appropriate approach will help to build the protective factors that foster resiliency and increase long-term success.
Once the right services and support are in place, it is essential that youth are placed in long-term employment opportunities that meet their developmental skill level and put them on a path to improved education and economic self-sufficiency.