The pandemic has wreaked havoc for many children and families, but especially for young people in the foster care system. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, more than 20,000 youth age out of foster care each year and it is an important time to be connected to system of supports. Planning for and finding rewarding careers are essential steps for young people in their late teens and early twenties to take, but these steps may also be filled with additional pressures and barriers, without strong connections to potential training programs and career opportunities.
A collaboration among businesses, government and higher education recently designed a new pilot program in New York City to respond to this crisis. This new program will provide vocational training and trauma-informed wraparound services to young people who are in the foster care system, or soon to age out, offering a career pathway towards a more equitable future.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently announced this new vocational training and apprenticeship program called V-CRED, (Vocational Training that Emphasizes a Continuing Responsibility Toward Education and Development) created by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The City University of New York (CUNY). V-CRED will support youth with training for professional certification, participating in paid internships or apprenticeships, and finding opportunities for employment.
As one of several strategies pursued by ACS to improve education and employment outcomes for young people in foster care, V-CRED will serve 90 young people, ages 16-24, during its two-year pilot. Five career pathways offered will include: 1) Information Technology, 2) Electrician’s Helper, 3) Allied Health (e.g. Certified Nursing Assistants, EKG Technician), 4) Pharmacy Technicians, and 5) Building Trades.
“It’s about guidance and mentorship because when it comes to helping young people plan their future, we are not going to just let them wing it. We are going to take them under our wing,” said Mayor Adams.