The Ozarks Technical Community College joined forces with the Community Partnership of the Ozarks to create a specialized 10-week pilot program designed to assist foster youth as they assimilate into adult life. The Springfield News-Leader spoke with Marilyn Madden, coordinator of the Missouri Customer Service Project. Speaking of this pilot program, which is one of two currently being tested in the state, Ms. Madden states, “This is a great transition. It’s a bridge to help them into the workforce and into higher education. We’re attempting to empower them to be active citizens regardless of their back-story.”
Teens who age-out of foster care are statistically less likely to graduate from high school, go to college, or obtain permanent employment. Additionally, they are more likely to be homeless or end up in jail. The project has received $120,000 in funding to help them kick off the program.
The pilot can accommodate 15 youth during each 10-week course. The course includes educating youth on interviewing for jobs, writing resumes, and other specifics that will be helpful in successfully obtaining a career. When completed, each participant will receive four college credits.
Participants must already have a high school diploma or GED. The 10-week courses run one right after another. There is no cost. Of the dozen youth who have already completed the course last fall, ten have jobs. The success rate is high. All foster youth in the area aged 17-21 are invited to participate. More information is available by emailing Marilyn Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org.