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February 2, 2015

On Jan. 28, members of the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Youth Programs team took part in a presentation about community collaborations at the California Workforce Association’s Youth Conference in Long Beach, Calif. 

SDWP Program Specialist Sandra Bauler joined with San Pasqual Academy Youth Program Coordinator Dan Radojevic; Roshawn Brady, Program Manager, Access, Inc.; Robin Graham, Program Director, South Bay Community Services; and Mary Molony, Contract Administrator, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) CWS Adolescent Services for the presentation “Community Collaborations: Strategies for Leveraging Systems to Maximize Services and Funding.”

The presentation highlighted how San Diego County has successfully taken cross-system collaboration to another level for a program focused on transitioning foster youth ages 16–21. Specifically, over the past seven years, the County Department of Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and SDWP have jointly supported Access, Inc. and South Bay Community Services to provide a joint Independent Living Skills/Workforce Investment Act (ILS/WIA) program through which case management services and workforce preparations are offered to current and former foster youth.  

The ILS/WIA program provides services in two tiers: Tier 1 (ILS, funded by the County of San Diego) provides case management and supportive services in the areas of housing, employment and education, and Tier 2 (funded by WIA) provides intensive work-readiness classes and workshops; career exploration and job shadowing experiences; internships and job placement services; and assistance with vocational and post-secondary preparation.  

Radojevic and Molony offered a historical account of the process that lead to the joint endeavor. Bauler, Graham and Brady explained how leveraging two different funding services enhanced the benefits provided to the foster youth while reducing duplication of services served by both organizations. The innovative “two-tiered” service approach was well received and lead to an interesting question and answer session. Many attendees stated that they would like to implement this same system in their areas.

Also in attendance from SDWP: Vice President and Chief Program Officer Andy Hall, Youth Manager Sara Fox, Program Specialist Willie Wallace, Program Specialist Amanda Cheyney and Project Coordinator Erika Arangure.

Approximately 500 youth practitioners, youth council members and staff, and youth attended the annual conference, which offers attendees an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with other organizations that provide education, skill training, work experience and career counseling to young people and who are actively involved in addressing youth employment issues. With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), this year’s gathering also provided for an exchange of experience and ideas among local, state and national policy makers from USDOL Region 6. 

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