Example: Recruiting for life
Dean Jones is the program coordinator of the Job Training Partnership Act in South Carolina, a program that provides free employment-training programs for individuals who qualify based on family income. The program takes individuals who are living at or below the national poverty level and find them a job. Some of the programs that Dean has been supervising for nine years are aimed directly at youths, and it gives jobs to about 300 young people every summer. Dean talked to us about his recruiting strategies.
"We do open up the program for anyone who is interested, provided they meet the eligibility. We advertise the program through public notices in the newspaper, the local newspaper, general flyers, brochures, we go out to human service meetings and we present them to the communities. I go out to housing communities. It's kind of an informal recruiting. We receive individuals as they walk in through our doors. "
The summer youth program is for individuals 14 to 21, Dean said. The objective of the program is to provide individuals with academic enrichment courses as well as some entry employment courses and some work experience training. The program also offers incentives that make the youths want to participate. "We hope to provide youth with an opportunity start taking a serious look at their career choices, to provide them with enrichment activities, which upgrade their basic skills during the summer and enable them to be better students while in school during the summer. We also pay them a wage. It also keeps them off the streets having a lot of time on their hands and gives them something structured to do with their summer. We have another program, a year-round one for youths 18 to 21 years old. We provide the same types of training, classroom training and on the job training programs as we do with the other program. During the summer, they receive instruction to upgrade those skills at least one or two grade levels over a period of eight weeks during the summer. Along with that program, we provide an entry employment assignment, where two days a week we provide them with jobs in the public sector in which they gain some work skills. They learn some of the minimal things as far as what's needed in terms of behavior, attendance and punctuality and all of those things that 14 and 15 year olds really need to start knowing that it takes to survive and be productive in the work force."
Students receive wages for classroom time as well as entry employment time. "They learn the concept of working, earning your pay, budgeting and balancing a checkbook. We try to give them a simple but thorough orientation to becoming a productive citizen. We have another type of activity through the Summer Youth program that is a residential program. We have a local college campus that enters into an agreement with us to provide a residential program for youth. We hope to increase awareness of youth, in particular minorities, with career opportunities. The students get an idea as to what type of career they may be able to pursue. It also gives them a brief orientation to the college campus life. They stay on college campus, they live on campus, they have a resident assistant in the dorms just like regular college students do. It may be up to five or six weeks during the summer. Hopefully, it will give them motivation to start taking a look at what they're going to do by the time that they leave for secondary school."
Dean said that teenagers like earning that money during the summer so they can do whatever they want and have fun. ?It gives them just another opportunity to earn the money and to have a job. In the other program during the summer months, we can take 16- to 21-year-olds and provide them with a job during the summer. We have a lot of students and a lot of youth who may not know exactly where the jobs are, or how to go out and get a job. So we go out and get the jobs for them and fill those jobs with the eligible applicants during the summer. And it gives them something they can put on their resume as far as a work history, as well as possibly doing a good job and having that employer to provide them with a reference."
The programs are overall very effective in Dean's opinion. "We're measured on the percentage of individuals that we train and place in employment. We're also measured on how long those individuals stay on the job. So, it's not only providing training, providing some job placement assistance, and putting them to work. It's also about taking a look at three months down the road whether they're still working. It is a good measure of whether or not you provided that individual with some quality skills." Dean said that, personally, he likes to see the change in an individual's life who came through his doors and didn't know what was the next step for them or where they were going to turn as far as receiving some quality skills and being able to obtain a job. "That's something you can't see on paper but something you can visualize and see personally."
Dean said that they try to provide success stories in their newsletters to inform the general public. "We provide them with an objective summary of what works and what doesn't work in the program. We have individuals who come back and provide a personal information to how the program worked for them, some of the things they are able to do now that they wouldn't be able to do had it not been for our program. We also have individuals who may just send in thank you cards and come back maybe two or three years down the road and just say "I want to tell you that you really made a difference and I really do appreciate what you did." We know we can't make a difference in everyone's life but we can just have one individual to come back and say this worked, and we know that it's working for more than just that individual. If we just had one person benefit from the program, it would give us a sense of gratification."