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Tallahassee Community College helps foster youth get workplace training, jobs

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 17:59:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Dozens of former foster youth, ranging from 18 to 24 years old, are participating in workplace readiness training this week.

During week-long classes at Tallahassee Community College, young adults from across Florida are learning skills ranging from communication and networking to dressing professionally and showing up to work on time.

22-year old Unique Castro spent time in foster care in Fort Lauderdale. She's now studying humanities at Florida State University, and ultimately wants a career in film or psychiatry.

"I have aged out of foster care," Castro explained. "I didn't have people there to tell me, necessarily, how I should be professional."

Abby Phelps with the Department of Children and Families is helping lead the class. She says most kids who have aged out of foster care don't have parental figures to look to for career guidance.

"The program is definitely trying to fill that gap, and definitely make sure that our youth are prepared to enter the workforce, especially when they don't have those role models readily available to them in their day to day life," said Phelps.

After they complete the program, the youth will be partnered with one of six state agencies and given a part-time job for 20 hours per week, at $10 per hour until next June. This is the third year of the program, and some previous participants have gone on get to full-time positions with their employers.

The unemployment rate for former foster kids is typically much higher than among the general population.