Youth Investments

Worksystems coordinates a network of community-based organizations, known as NextGen, that provides career development services to many of our community’s most underserved and vulnerable youth populations. These include youth residents of public housing, youth experiencing housing instability and/or homelessness, youth of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA, youth in foster care, youth with juvenile just system involvement, and youth in poverty. Partners across our network work together toward the shared goal of helping the populations we serve to enter continued education or career-track employment in high-demand, middle-income jobs.

NextGen is a cornerstone of our community-based approach to serving youth. Through an array of community-based organizations, NextGen provides outreach and enrollment, career planning, job readiness, internships, occupational training and other workforce services leading to education and career outcomes for youth.

100% of youth served by our investments are low income; 68% are kids of color

Funding and support for NextGen comes from Prosper PortlandMultnomah County, the City of Portland, Oregon Department of Human Services, Washington County, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Agriculture, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and other sources.

In addition to funding and coordinating Career Coaching through our community-based network, Worksystems directs a broad array of resources available to NextGen participants, such as scholarships for occupational training, paid internships, employer and job connections, eviction prevention and housing placement services, and access to childcare. These wrap around services available are organized in partnership with the public systems overseeing these services, including WorkSource Portland Metro, Oregon Department of Human Service, Joint Office of Homeless Services and others.

OUR STRATEGIES

Worksystems partners with government agencies, educational institutions, and employer partners to formulate a regional strategic plan that includes youth workforce development and prosperity. As part of our strategic planning process, we also research best practices and continually incorporate feedback from stakeholders and customers to inform our approach. Our investments help youth prepare for successful careers.

CAREER PREPARATION

Employers seek young people who have the soft skills that match today’s work environment. Our strategy is to prepare youth/young adults for workplace success through quality work-based learning opportunities, including paid internships, job shadows, youth apprenticeships and community service opportunities.  We teach these skills using a nationally recognized curriculum. We fund meaningful, paid work experiences year-round--many youth get their first job through our program. 

CONNECTING TO JOBS

Our investments fund career tools and training for youth to prepare them to enter high growth industries. We want to expand, innovate and scale options for vocational training programs that create pathways from school to work, including apprenticeships. Careersnw.org spotlights careers in manufacturing, healthcare, tech and construction. Worksystems directs training scholarships and other training opportunities through WorkSource to NextGen participants to prepare them for the industry of their choice.

Services include:

  • Individualized Career Coaching
  • Career Mapping (A best-practice career planning tool developed by Worksystems)
  • Career exploration resources
  • Work readiness training
  • Paid internships
  • Job search assistance and placement
  • Retention and advancement supports after job placement
  • Childcare support including placement into quality childcare and childcare tuition payment
  • Contextualized, cohort‐based Adult Basic Education
  • Sector Bridge Courses: industry sector­-based preparatory training
  • Occupational skills training leading to employer‐recognized certificates
  • Pre-­apprenticeship Training Programs
  • On-the‐job training
  • Individualized job placement for certain industries and participants
  • Access to specialized scholarship funding in high-growth, high-wage industries, such as healthcare.
  • Enrollment in the TriMet Low Income Fare program, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and other services.

EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT

Because our employer partners often have a specific interest in developing the pipeline of youth workforce talent, we maintain some youth-specific relationships with employers and avenues of employer engagement.

For instance, our SummerWorks program, a youth-focused service within our PDX Metro Works employment programs, offers an easy to use process for employers to host youth interns and our annual Opportunity Youth Job Fair puts employers face to face with the new and emerging workforce.

For more information about our Youth Investment programs, contact Barb Timper.

Thank you Naomi Brown and Kim Harding from the Connect Program at Hillsboro School District for creating this video!