The report on the “Activation of Youthworks Employment Toolkit” highlighted several promising practices that had emerged for community agencies in engaging with private sector partners. These promising practices are included here, but the full report should be read for a more complete understanding.
- Be upfront and honest with employers about the barriers homeless and at-risk youth face and the possible challenges they may encounter during the work placement. Encourage youth to be transparent with their employer as well.
- Try and make sure that youth have the practical tools needed to succeed at their job placement. For example, make sure they have access to a phone and arrange a work placement in close proximity to where they are living. One organization used a “buddy system”: youth were paired up with a buddy who lived near them, and if they needed to contact their employer but did not have access to a phone they would ask to use their buddy’s cell phone.
- Arrange weekly meetings with the youth in either a group or one-on-one setting once they have started their job placement. Go over any challenges they are having and brainstorm strategies and solutions, such as better time management. Emphasize the importance of being accountable to their employer and being on time.
- Meet face-to-face with employers to discuss the opportunity of becoming partners and providing employment opportunities to youth. Share with them challenges, best practices, and success stories.
- Meet with the employer during the youths’ work placement to see how it is going and provide support. Help to manage challenges the youth may be facing.
- Promote pre-employment programs broadly using various communication outlets. Many employers are very interested in giving back to their community but do not know that these types of programs exist.
- Community agencies should think creatively when developing jobs for youth. If a youth is particularly talented artist look into placements at art galleries or in marketing.
Some of the former Train for Trades youth on the job.