The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Fostering Success Program, in collaboration with the Barry University School of Social Work in Miami, recently held a commencement ceremony marking the completion of two-week professional life skills and employment readiness program for the young adults participating in the program.
Twelve former foster youth participated in an immersive developmental and professional job skills training opportunity to help better prepare them for the workforce. Participants were housed on campus, paired with a mentor, and participated in training which focused on personal and professional development, public speaking, cultural diversity, and technology in the workplace.
“We are thankful for the partnership with Barry University to provide an additional opportunity for our youth to develop their professional skills,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll. “This is the future of Florida’s workforce; it is imperative that we continue to support skills training for young adults in Florida’s child welfare system. We look forward to following their journeys and watching them grow in and outside of the workplace.”
The program operates jointly between DCF, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Youth (ages 18 and up) participating in the program have the opportunity to gain professional work experience in a supportive environment by obtaining employment in a paid entry-level position in a participating state agency.
“We appreciate Representative Albritton and the Florida Legislature for giving us the opportunity to help pilot this program,” said FDACS Director of Administration Joey Hicks. “This program not only provides an environment for growth and learning for the young adults in the program, but it equally benefits our employees who participate as mentors. With the added support of DCF and FWC, we’re already seeing increased opportunity for these young adults in personal and professional skill development.”
The program’s goal is to help emancipated foster youth develop the habits, attitudes, and skills they need to get and keep a job, become self-sufficient and economically stable, and reach personal success. The program also offers its participants developmental skills training, mentoring services, and any needed additional support, such as transportation, housing, and food assistance.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to welcome seven bright young people to the FWC from the Fostering Success Program,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “This program provides multiple benefits. We’re able to provide participants with high-quality on-the-job training that prepares them for a future career. And it allows us the opportunity to immerse them in our conservation mission. Not only does this support the FWC’s efforts to create the next generation that cares about conservation, it may also lead participants to consider a career path at the FWC.”
The Fostering Success program was established in 2014 to help reduce and prevent the unnecessary struggles experienced when aging out of the foster care system by providing life and job skills education, job placement services, and collaborative efforts to strengthen and expand community partnerships.
“It is such a blessing to our young people emerging out of foster care to have opportunities to build careers in our state agencies, with Barry University equipping them,” said Representative Albritton. “When we started the program, I only dreamed and hoped that this simple idea would yield so much good. Simply put, I’m deeply blessed to be part of Fostering Success team! THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT!”
The Fostering Success Program is currently only operated within the city of Tallahassee and administered by DCF, FDACS, and FWC.