Removing Barriers and Opening Doors of Opportunities for Young Adults

Kristin ColeThelisa Lavergne

Who and where are our young adults? And what are our they doing?

According to a recent study conducted by The Opportunity Nation Coalition, almost 6 million young adults are neither in school nor working. This seems to suggest that we have young adults that are “idle” and missing out on a window of opportunity to build skills they will need later in life, or use the knowledge they acquired in school. Without work experience, they are less likely to command a high salary and will possibly become an economic drain on their communities.

Young adults who age out of foster care, or have dropped out of school have about an 80% success rate of getting a high school diploma or a GED by the age of 26, whereas the general population averages about 94%. Statistics show that when young adults in Foster Care age out of the system at age 18, a majority of them become homeless and over 70% of young women get pregnant by age 21.

By 24, only half are employed, and 1 in 4 will end up in the criminal justice system. Without support from caring parents and adults, they will continue to struggle.

Alarmed by these statistics? We were too.

Workforce Solutions can help people that fit this bill.

We start by meeting young adults in schools! We work with them at their level and provide guidance and support by helping prepare for a successful future.

We offer summer youth programs, in partnership with Project Grad, to facilitate interest in High Skill-High Growth occupations. We host a 2-week program for low income school districts at local colleges to get students actively engaged in activities that will drive them towards success.

Workforce Solutions offers:

  • A dedicated staff of facilitators and navigators that partner with local school districts and community organizations to ensure that young adults have the skills needed to compete in a global economy.
  • Valuable work experiences for out of school, young adults offering quality job opportunities to build a work experience portfolio, and to develop social and life skills.
  • We encourage employers to hire young adults and provide supportive services to young adults while they are working.
  • We assist local partners; colleges, community organizations, school districts, etc., to provide effective and coordinated services that will support all young adults, including the most vulnerable.

Want to know what YOU can do to help?

  1. You can become a Foster Parent or adopt a child. For more information, visit Texas Adoption Overview
  2. Mentor or tutor students and help them to see that success is possible by contacting your local school
  3. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister to a local youth. For more information, visit Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America
  4. Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA. For more information, visit CASA
  5. Become a Summer Camp Counselor or Mentor by visiting Hope Unlimited

When the community as a whole works together to correct problems/issues, we can make a huge difference! Evidence shows that when young adults become actively engaged in their own learning and development, and gain valuable work experiences, the barriers that plague them diminish significantly.

Let’s work together to help!

More information can be found at website links below:
Aging Out, by Jim Casey
Homeless Youth Statistics

Kristin Cole is a member of the Regional Facilitator team and specializes in training the workforce in finding a job, keeping a job, and getting a better job. She has a passion for helping people successfully get from one stage in their life to another. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a Master’s of Arts in Counseling from Sam Houston State University. She has 12 years’ experience as a trainer, teaching Special Education, Job Seekers and Foster Parents. After leaving her career in teaching, she utilized the Workforce Services to get a better job and became an Employment Counselor for 2 ½ years and was promoted to Facilitator and continued her passion as a trainer! She has 6 years of employment with Workforce Solutions.

Thelisa Lavergne is a member of the Regional (Texas Gulf Coast) Navigator team for Workforce Solutions. She specializes in providing training and education to the Gulf Coast community, career staff offices, and employers in assisting individuals with disabilities. She brings with her over 10 years of experience and expertise working in the nonprofit industry serving Houston’s disadvantaged community; individuals and families experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, and individuals and families experiencing hunger. However, her greatest contribution to Workforce Solutions is her compassion, commitment, and dedication to serving others. She holds a M.A. in Organizational Management, a B.S. in Training and Development, B.S. in Counseling, and a Certification as a Personal Fitness Trainer.



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