Expanding Employment Pathways for Youth in Juvenile Rehabilitation

January 21, 2022
Young person smiling in outdoor setting.

Successfully transitioning young people into adulthood is at the forefront of DCYF's work to implement the agency's Strategic and Racial Equity Plan. A successful transition prepares young people for independence through education, employment, life skills, strong relationships, and more. Through strategic partnerships and meaningful career pathways, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) is ensuring young people are thoughtfully supported in gaining the skills and experience needed to flourish in adulthood.

To fortify this endeavor, JR is expanding its K-12 educational programming and developing post-secondary pathways to adequately serve young people in our system up to the age of 25. JR currently partners with 11 colleges across Washington, and students have the opportunity to have their college expenses paid while in residence. JR is also developing additional partnerships with colleges and communities to ensure multiple education and career pathways for the youth and young adults in our care.

JR’s framework for guided pathways includes a variety of choices that prepare individuals for living-wage jobs and careers. These pathways include registered pre-apprenticeships, career and technical education, academic pathways, and post-release education connections. A few shining examples of this work include:

  • Partnership with Relevant Engagement: providing students with culturally-relevant education, confidence, and critical thinking skills to help identify their passions and strengths.
  • The Enterprise for Equity program: providing workshops to help students learn about money management, financial goals, budgeting, and credit.
  • Partnership with ANEW: providing quality training, employment navigation, and real-world application of multiple construction trades.
  • The Beauty from Ashes program: providing health and wellness training and certification for students wanting to become fitness trainers, nutritionists, or coaches.
  • Partnership with Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center: providing high school-age students with education in culinary arts, engineering, cosmetology, and more.
  • The Manufacturing Academy: a 12-week pre-apprenticeship where participants can earn seven certifications that prepare them for positions in the manufacturing industry.
  • Partnership with A Better Track/MyJOB: providing employment education training, including resume building, interviewing, and employment readiness skills. 

Upon release to the community, JR youth and young adults are referred to a DCYF employment/education coordinator, who supports them in their job search and employment onboarding. The coordinator stays current with local labor market trends and employment opportunities and maintains relationships with a variety of businesses, industry representatives, and job placement agencies to promote hiring JR young adults.

Learn more about Building Employment Pathways in JR.