Operating since 2013, YouthLink currently serves nearly 250 youth who have been certified through the Workforce Investment Act (WIOA); 25% are Younger (In School) Youth, and 75% are Older (Out of School) Opportunity. YouthLink provides a myriad of services to these youth centered around 14 specific elements, the largest providing summer employment for all program youth. Individualized case management is provided to each youth by assigned case managers, who meet regularly with youth to establish an ISS (Individual Success Strategy).
Many youth come into the program having dropped out of school. YouthLink provides both in-class GED sessions and online High School completion curriculum through ED 20/20 which is a credit recovery program. Workforce Development Specialists facilitates weekly Job Readiness workshops for the Out of School youth to sharpen their employability skills. Youthlink exposes program youth to as many academic and social interaction activities as possible, taking talent tours to the major colleges and thriving businesses in Detroit and the surrounding areas. YouthLink also polishes youth in the area of etiquette and takes them on quarterly tours to restaurants to practice what they have learned. In 2015 DESC asked Youthlink to support a new initiative, Jobs For Michigan's Graduates. Jobs for America's Graduates is a nationwide dropout prevention and recovery program for youth. The statewide Jobs for Michigan's Graduates program helps Michigan's young people who are at risk of dropping out of high school (or who have already dropped out) graduate and make successful transitions to post-secondary education or meaningful employment. Students enrolled in the program are youth who have barriers to success, including deficiencies in basic skills, transportation, income and economic status. Many are from families with low educational attainment levels.
NSO, in collaboration with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation runs the largest out-of-school JMG program in serving approximately 67 older youth. NSO Youthlink through DESC also supports the new initiative geared toward providing intensive workforce development activities for the homeless and foster care youth through the Annie E. Casey Foundation LEAP (Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential) grant. Foster care and homeless youth are two relevant populations that are underserved.
NSO Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Out-of-School Program (JMG) In collaboration with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) is a statewide initiative to raise Michigan’s and Detroit’s high school graduation rate and ensure successful transition into post-secondary education or employment. The program targets young people ages 16 through 24 who have left the education system. The goals of the program include attainment of a high school diploma (or GED), occupational skills training and a quality job with career advancement opportunities. JMG programs that fully implemented the JMG model have consistently recorded extraordinary success. Key components of the JMG Out-of-School program include: JMG specialists to work with youth, Individualized Development Plans (IDP), competency-based curriculum, remediation and basic skills help, year-round contact, social services, wrap-around services, community-based and work-based learning experiences, employer marketing and job development and 12 months of follow up after program completion.