CASES is excited to announce that we are among ten organizations selected nationwide in 2016 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation for its Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) initiative. LEAP will provide $180,000 in annual funding for three to five years to support CASES’ implementation of the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Out of School youth employment model. CASES is providing JAG in New York City for the first time in the model’s 30-year history. Across the United States, over the past 30 years, JAG has produced strong outcomes in urban and rural settings in helping youth to stay in school, obtain a high school diploma or equivalency, pursue postsecondary education, and secure and retain employment. The Out-of-School model targets young people age 16-24 who have left the traditional school system and who are interested in pursuing a career. Many of these youth are homeless and/or have been involved in the foster care system. The model includes a highly-structured employment-readiness curriculum and paid work experience lasting six months followed by 12 months of follow-up aftercare to support job placement and retention. JAG staff will provide participants an array of counseling, employability and technical skills development, professional association, job development, and job placement services that will result in either a quality job leading to a career after graduation and/or enrollment in a postsecondary education and training program.
CASES will begin to implement JAG in September 2016 and plans to serve 100 young people citywide—50 in Downtown Brooklyn and 50 in Harlem. This new program significantly bolsters our existing youth employment services by enabling us to reach a wider population of vulnerable, disconnected New York City youth, providing them with supports and opportunities that fit their needs and ambitions. In doing so, CASES continues to expand our interventions across all stages of a young person’s potential justice-involvement with the hope that many will be able to avoid arrest altogether with the aid of protective factors such as employment.