The need to embrace a new normal cannot be overstated. People of all ages and backgrounds are embracing some form of drastic change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s more important than ever that people — especially young adults — find stability wherever possible. The job market has experienced significant hardships, and finding stable, meaningful work is crucial to greeting the new normal. According to iFoster’s survey of 3,800 TAY (transition age youth), 30% have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and 68% are seeking employment.
While the world around us has changed, the need for training, skill development and job placement has become increasingly important. We’re answering questions about the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program and explaining how we’re working to deliver the same impact in a revised format.
What is the traditional iFoster Jobs Program?
The iFoster Jobs Program provides clients with job skills training, internships, and permanent employment in living-wage jobs with career paths through an evidence-informed and trauma-informed program model developed specifically for this population. Over 450 foster youth have earned living wage jobs in the 3 years the program has been operating and expanding – and Employer Partners have found graduates of the Program have much lower turnover rates and are promoted faster than traditional hires. The Program has successfully been evaluated for the Administration for Children and Families by Chapin Hall and Urban Institute as a promising practice for foster youth employment.
Who is the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program for?
The program is designed for foster youth looking to build critical job skills and secure meaningful employment. And by going virtual, we can now offer the program across the entire country. It’s one of the many resources iFoster offers to help foster youth succeed.
When / where will the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program be available?
The first Virtual Cohort just launched at the end of October! Our first cohort has had 5 graduates with another 15 in the midst of their self-directed online training modules. Once we have fully evaluated this first virtual cohort, we plan on opening it up with many more opportunities to participate in the coming months. Let us know you’re interested!
The iFoster Jobs Program Online is available in a 100% remote platform using self-directed online job readiness training and interactions with iFoster Trainers via Zoom.
How is this program different from the traditional iFoster Jobs Program?
We spent a lot of time retooling our traditional in-person program to optimize it for an online platform — ideal for remote learning. It’s safe and convenient for all participants. The iFoster TAY AmeriCorps members, who have all taken the in-person program, tested the online version to ensure their peers would get the same results from an online experience.
An added benefit: training can now be made available to youth in all California counties and even nationally. Before, we were geographically limited to where iFoster has certified trainers. We’re excited to assist a broader audience of foster youth with their employment goals.
Will remote learners still be placed with employer partners?
Yes! All elements of the original iFoster Jobs Program are part of the virtual program. Participants will still participate in assessment day and placement with one of our many employer partners.
What should I expect as a participant of the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program?
The iFoster Virtual Jobs Program still consists of these crucial components for participants:
- Job Skills Training: 4 online self-directed training modules covering everything needed to find, earn and keep a job, supported by our peer specialists who support youth every step of the way and our trainers who can provide 1:1 coaching
- Youth Assessment: Evaluation of skills, competencies and any previous work experience to determine readiness for competitive work.
- Youth-Job Matching, Application & Interview Prep: Skills, culture, personality, location, and schedule all align and youth are matched to appropriate jobs and employers. We’ll help you prepare for your crucial interview.
- Ongoing Coaching & Resource Support: iFoster conducts frequent Youth and Employer check-ins and follows up with Referring Agency Case Workers to seek their assistance as needed. We’ll help youth apply for employer benefits, scholarships, tuition reimbursement and post-secondary grants if available.
Will participants still receive the same level of support?
Absolutely! Participating youth will still receive the same level of support from iFoster team members and peer support specialists. We’re working to connect with you, and connect you to resources that will help you every step of the way. Youth may be doing training online but that does not mean they are doing it alone.
How do I apply to the iFoster Jobs Program? How do I get a referral?
Interested youth should complete the online interest form. It takes only a few minutes and an iFoster team member will contact you to discuss the program further and help with enrollment.
Join the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program Today
If you’re not already an iFoster member, join us for free and gain access to thousands of useful resources that can change the lives of the foster care community for the better. Remember: once you are an iFoster member, you have access to these benefits forever! Register here today.
If you’re a caregiver or agency, please spread the word about the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program and encourage foster youth in need of employment to submit the online interest form. If you need help with the interest form, or have additional questions about the iFoster Virtual Jobs Program, please contact Melissa Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org.