Erin Condon (she/her/hers) is a Program Assistant at the PbS Learning Institute.
Work Works: The Value of Employment for Justice-Involved Youths
Employment assistance is listed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as one of the keys to turning around the lives of young people involved with juvenile justice systems. A meaningful job can be the critical lifeline a young person needs to pay their bills and establish themselves yet the majority of youths leaving juvenile justice programs face significant barriers to finding and keeping employment – largely due to their system involvement. Most come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have not had opportunities to develop the skills and work experience needed to find gainful employment.
To promote and support such opportunities for young people with lived experience in juvenile justice, the PbS Employment Matching Award was created in 2017. Each year young people living in PbS participating facilities and programs can apply to double their wages earned between June-Sept. 1. This year, all who applied – two from each of the following facilities – were named award recipients:
- Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, OK
- Green Hill School, WA
- Kenneth Rubenstein Center, WV
Each applicant submitted an essay in which they described their professional goals, as well as how they plan to achieve them. One young man wrote about his desire to open his own farm-to-table restaurant. He is employed at a local eatery where he is gaining food preparation and customer service expertise. Another young man dreams of joining the Air Force and wrote about how his job at a clothing company is helping to prepare him by teaching him “patience, assembly line work and quick thinking.”
In addition to extending our congratulations to the six recipients, we would also like to acknowledge the juvenile justice, business and community leaders connecting these young people with work opportunities. To learn more about how you can support real second chances, visit the PbS Education and Employment Foundation website.