Underscoring the County of San Diego’s commitment to addressing disparities in the foster care system, San Diego County Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas awarded the San Diego Workforce Partnership $5 million for the new Career Pathways for Foster Youth program. This innovative initiative, which was developed by the County’s Foster Alumni and Youth Community Empowerment Subcommittee (FAYCES), offers multiple workforce and educational development opportunities and provides access to essential resources, mentorship and training to current and former foster youth ages 16-24, empowering them to achieve their career aspirations and pave the way toward a brighter future. To build awareness around the new program, KPBS, CBS 8 and other news outlets were invited to the public announcement held at the Workforce Partnership’s Metro career center.
“Investing in the future of our foster youth is an investment in the future of our entire community. By providing them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed, we are not only breaking down barriers but also creating a stronger more resilient San Diego County,” said Chairwoman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nora Vargas. “We’re honored to support this impactful program serving foster youth and offering multiple workforce and educational development opportunities so they can begin their career journeys and develop their professional network for a bright future.”
Foster youth face unique challenges as they transition into adulthood, including limited access to educational opportunities and professional development resources. Career Pathways for Foster Youth seeks to address these challenges head-on, offering a comprehensive framework that will equip these young people with skills, knowledge and support needed to excel in the workforce and reach their full potential. Approximately 60,000 youth are in foster care in the state of California and more than 3,000 current and former foster youth are in San Diego County.
Current and former foster youth are at high risk of experiencing housing insecurity, difficulties in school, and mental and behavioral health challenges. Additionally, foster care does not impact children equally; Black and Hispanic/Latino children are represented disproportionately throughout the foster care system. This much-needed program will help ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for all foster youth in the region.
Compared to their peers, foster children too often lack the support systems that are crucial to transitioning smoothly into adulthood and embarking on a successful career pathway. This program will empower foster youth to create their own paths and contribute meaningfully to our region’s workforce.
Career Pathways for Foster Youth is overseen by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, with funding provided by the County of San Diego, and was designed in collaboration with the Foster Alumni and Youth Community Empowerment Subcommittee (FAYCES). Promises2Kids, a local nonprofit dedicated to creating a brighter future for foster children, along with Access Inc. and Just In Time for Foster Youth will provide supportive services, including financial support with housing, mental health care, transportation, childcare and more. To learn more or apply, visit workforce.org/fosteryouth.