Foster Care Youth Explore Career Paths at NYFC Conference
Youth in foster care spent a rewarding
day on Feb. 17 exploring the world of work and non-traditional avenues of
employment that could lead to the career of a lifetime. Some 75 young
people age 15 and above attended the conference in Manhattan, which included
presentations from organizations such as the New York City Fire Department, the
US Postal Service and representatives from businesses providing barber, computer
repair and pet grooming services. The conference was hosted by New Yorkers for
Children, in partnership with the Children's Services, New York City foster care
agencies, FedCap, and FEGS.
NYFD Fireman Johnson talks with a couple of foster care youths
about careers as a fireman or emergency medical technician.
The event targeted youth who are in care and may not be college bound, with
the objective of helping them take the next steps to finding meaningful
employment and careers. The conference was held at FedCap, a vocational
rehabilitation facility. The day began with workshops delivered by FEGS on
resume writing, goal setting, interview skills and how to conduct a job
search. The workshops were aimed at helping the young adults learn more
about the character traits suited to particular types of employment and careers.
According to Latisha, an 18 year old Lehman High School student: "I am
interested in culinary arts, and I wonder what it would be like to be a pastry
chef. But I also found out from the workshops that I am the type of person
who likes to learn a lot of information, and I also am interested social work. I
would like to show other kids that it is not so bad being in foster care.
I may want to work for my agency when I graduate from college."
17 year old Nakima
listens to Caryne Hayes (right) from C-CAP talk about careers in culinary
Among the more popular tables was Careers Through Culinary Arts (C-CAP)
program staffed by Caryne Hayes and Meghan Seradsky. C-CAP works with
public schools in New York City and across the country to prepare high school
students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality
industry. "Most of the kids stopping by are getting general information
about our program. If they are enrolled at the high schools where we have
programs, it is a great opportunity to benefit from all that C-CAP offers," said
Candace Arnold and
Donald McLachlan (sitting) answer questions at the FEGS table.
Paid internships attracted many to the FEGS table, where program coordinators
Candace Arnold and Donald McLachlan handed out brochures and fielded questions
from young people looking to earn some cash. The internship program funded
by New Yorkers
for Children offers 25 youth in foster care paid internships lasting
8-12 weeks for 10-15 hours a week at $7.25 an hour. Positions are
available in citywide in office settings, day care centers, after school
programs and some retail. According to Arnold, a few positions are still
available for the program with runs until August. Youths are accepted on a
rolling basis, and those interested should check with their social worker.
A highlight of the day was the presentation of Back-to-School kits containing
school supplies and gift certificates, and for three lucky youths who won a
raffle, brand new Macbook computers and printers.