In FY 2009, Career Exploration served 123 participants. Of the graduates with whom we have had post-program contact, 86% have earned their high school or GED diploma, continued to pursue their education, or found employment in the year following program completion. In our most recent recidivism analysis, less than 5% were convicted of a felony within 2 years of graduation.
Founded in 1997, Career Exploration adapts the school-to-work model and takes a holistic approach to career preparation for court-involved youth. This model fills a gap in employment services for youth who often miss out on school-based employment programs because of disruptions in their education. Most job programs that do target court-involved youth are limited in scope, providing vocational training or placement in particular sectors such as the service industry. In contrast, the goal of Career Exploration is to excite young people about the idea of work and expand their perception of what careers are open to them.
In 2000, the Career Exploration Project won a prestigious National Juvenile Justice Award and, in 2003, received the National Youth Employment Coalition's Promising and Effective Practices Network (PEPNet) Award for the second time.
CASES screens youth for enrollment in the program based on referrals from CASES' Court Employment Project.
- Employment readiness training - a month-long structured class that helps participants develop basic job skills and knowledge about potential career paths
- Internship placements - ten week placements at local private, non-profit, and government employers in dozens of fields, including art, law, education, retail, politics, journalism, construction and technology that give significant exposure to participants' fields of interest. While CASES pays 100% of participant stipends, internship providers offer close supervision, mentorship and challenging work assignments.
- Academic support - referrals to on-site classes, education-focused training activities to support the college application process, and college field trips
- Alumni services - ongoing support and advice to graduates through monthly networking events in the areas of employment, education, and legal counseling
CASES is proud to be a member of The Benchmarking Project, a Public/Private Ventures initiative that is working to help nonprofit workforce development providers evaluate and improve program performance.