Getting a job in today’s economy can be pretty tough, particularly for young people coming out of high school. But for young adults who have dropped out of school or who are at risk for dropping out because of emotional or behavioral difficulties, the hurdles to employment are even more overwhelming and may seem insurmountable.
Without help, some youth are unable to obtain a paying job. There are too many obstacles to securing employment: writing a simple resume, dressing appropriately for an interview, knowing how to interview, and arranging for transportation to the job when they do not have money for a car. Transitioning from school to employment in rural Vermont can be very difficult, and if not done successfully, a youth can more often end up in the criminal justice system instead of on a payroll.
HCRS has recently received a grant from the Vermont Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to help challenged youth in the Springfield area make that transition. The JOBS program (Jump On Board for Success) is a state-wide initiative designed to help emotionally-challenged youth who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out. The JOBS Program provides them with help for their emotional needs as well as skill development and coaching around how to find a suitable job and how to be successful with their new job. HCRS currently provides a JOBS program in the Brattleboro area, and this new grant would expand the program’s capacity to reach Bellows Falls and the communities around Springfield. The JOBS grant for Springfield will allow HCRS to hire a second full-time Employment Specialist to focus on youth between Bellows Falls and Springfield as well as a part-time JOBS Coordinator who will oversee the programs in Brattleboro and Springfield.
The HCRS JOBS program is based on a national model called the Transition to Independence Process (TIP): A Community-Based Model for Improving the Outcomes of Youth with Emotional Behavioral Disorders. The program will work closely with the schools, Vocational Rehabilitation, the business and agricultural community to find potential employers. The JOBS program will support youth by helping them define where they see their strengths and matching those abilities with appropriate employers. At the same time, every youth in the program will have access to a mental health clinician to help them develop better coping abilities to succeed in the workplace and in the community.