Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable
What is YouthWorks?
YouthWorks is a state-funded youth employment program that helps teens and young adults get the skills and experience needed to find and keep jobs.
Program Name: BlackstoneValleyHub
How does it work?
Participants take part in:
Paid work placements at public, private, and nonprofit work sites
Complete employability and durability skill training
Weekly case management
Create next steps in their education and career pathway
Over the past five years, more than 26,000 teens and young adults from low-income communities in 31 cities have taken part in YouthWorks; in the summer of 2015, 4,489 young people had summer employment through the program.
To apply for a job in the YouthWorks program:
Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 25
Applicants must fit the State mandated low-income/at-risk criteria – income verification is required and/or have a risk factor criteria (see list below)
Applicants must provide a signed copy of their Social Security card
Applicants must submit to a CORI check/drug test, where required.
Contact for further information:
Elyse Baumann, email@example.com
Ashley Bregman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Risk Factors: YouthWorks has two target audiences. As part of an effort to strategically target high-needs youth, all year, YouthWorks programs are encouraged to direct 20% of their allocated funding to young people with the following risk factors:
Court-involved youth — DYS-committed, on juvenile probation, gang-involved, CRS, juvenile arrest
Homelessness or being a runaway
Foster care or being close to aging out of foster care; having aged out of foster care
CHR (Children Requiring Assistance, formerly known as CHINS) and DCF involved
Poor academic performance or a school dropout
Being the child of a single parent
Having a disability or special needs (IEP, 504, ADA covered diagnoses)
Lack of fluency in English, or being a foreign immigrant
Being a teen parent
Participation and Completion Requirements
Youth must complete at least 10 hours of programming to be considered a participant, for year-round programs. This can be a combination of training and work hours or be largely comprised of one or the other. For participants to be considered completers, they must complete at least 75% of their planned programmatic hours. Program plans can range from as little as 40 hours to as many as 300 hours. Participants can take part in programming for as little as 8 weeks and as many as 20 weeks. During the year-round, programs need to be mindful to support participants with feasible schedules that offer opportunities for substantial skill gain without interfering with educational requirements for in- school youth.
YouthWorks Path Model
YouthWorks programs serve a wide range of participants in terms of ages, levels of career awareness and goals. To provide all participants with effective and relevant workforce-development services, YouthWorks is divided into three specific tiers. With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and recognition of the advantages of virtual statewide programming, programs are being asked to have a virtual plan in mind for participants who may not feel comfortable with in-person activities. Programs are welcome to offer any percentage of virtual, hybrid, and in-person programming. The following charts articulate the program model and offerings.
The goal of the state’s subsidized employment program, YouthWorks, is to help ensure young people gain the needed skills and experience to enter the workforce and begin to design a path toward sustained success. For the past 20 years, 14 to 21-year-old income eligible teens and young adults from 31 Massachusetts cities have participated in one of the few state-funded youth employment programs in the country.
YouthWorks represents a statewide effort of local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and Career Centers partnering with businesses, state agencies and local community-based organizations to recruit, train, place, and supervise teens and young adults (aged 14 to 21) in job opportunities in public, nonprofit, and private-sector placements. In 2021-2022, the program will increase reach and capacity by operating in additional priority communities with high rates of youth living in poverty.
2020 was the first full-scale implementation of YouthWorks new three-tiered developmental model focused on meeting the needs of participants in terms of age, stage and path. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the summer of 2020 also marked the start of widespread virtual and hybrid programming within YouthWorks. With input from regional and local stakeholders, Commonwealth Corporation developed a comprehensive, virtual career development program aligned to the YouthWorks age, stage and path model. This robust program was administered collaboratively across the state and focused on building essential skills, increasing career awareness and fostering positive connections with professionals and peers. The ongoing YouthWorks Year-Round program is building off emerging best practices while also addressing lessons learned. The program model that follows aligns core programmatic goals and the YouthWorks tiered developmental model with an updated virtual and hybrid offering that combines the strength of statewide elements with the flexibility to embed local programming and work placement options.