White’s Residential & Family Services is establishing a Workforce Development Advisory Team comprised of business leaders, educational professionals, and community advocates to provide counsel and build on the successes of its Growing Teens for Life vocational program serving at-risk teens in residential treatment.
Nationally, adjudicated youth re-encounter the justice system at a rate of 56%. The highest determinant of recidivism is lack of employment. For over 170 years, White’s has worked to equip adolescents with the tools they need to live independently and contribute to their communities.
White’s launched its Growing Teens for Life (GTFL) program in 2012 to meet the unique needs of youths in residential treatment and prepare them both for the workforce and adulthood.
“White’s has pioneered this program, bringing real-world experience, job training and education to the forefront. GTFL provides students the opportunity to earn nationally recognized certifications, acquire work experience, and earn financial incentives to help them get started once they leave campus,” said Kenny Harvey, director of experiential learning at White’s.
The cornerstone of the vocational program is White’s Employability Skills Training (WEST), a carefully constructed curriculum built on key aspects of Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development training program. WEST consists of five segments covering 18 personal skill sets: Mindset, Work Ethic, Learning Strategies, and Social and Emotional Skills. Job readiness regardless of industry is the goal for each teen participating in the program.
Craig Standish, education development director for First Farmers Bank & Trust and advisory team member, explained why these skills are so important for academic and career success. “One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is education. Helping students learn marketable job skills provides them with a greater opportunity to become self-sufficient adults and increases the likelihood that they will make positive contributions to our communities.”
White’s recognizes the contributions of Standish and other individuals and organizations in the advisory team, who will work close with Harvey and Shane Whybrew, director of donor stewardship at White’s. Team members include Karen Green, WorkOne Services at Northeast Indiana Works; Kevin Grider, Midwest Fresh; Jesse Height, Ford Meter Box; Mark Hobbs, Heartland Career Center; Mike McDivitt, White’s High School; Edmond O’Neal, Northeast Indiana Works; Alison Pershing, Parkview Wabash Hospital; Matt Putman, Westfield High School; Brad Rhorer, Conexus Indiana; Mathew Seibel, Sipcam Agro USA; and Andy Zay, Indiana state senator.
“Every year, young men and women leave White’s residential programs and begin life on their own with little to no support. This advisory team’s investment in their lives will be profound, as it will help them to envision a future they didn’t believe they could have,” said White’s CEO Ron Evans.
White’s Residential & Family Services provides hope and transformation through Christ to children and families in crisis through foster care, residential treatment, and community-based services. With support from staff and the community, White’s will continue its mission during these challenging times.