Presentations by YAP staff generated strong interest and many follow-up questions at the California Workforce Association (CWA) conference in January. YAP joined Workforce Partners from across the country who met to discuss Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funded programming.
Ed DeJesus, National Director of Workforce Development Programs and Policy, presented YAP’s Future Economic Opportunities model. Patty Rosati, Southwest Vice President, presented YAP’s mission and guiding principles. Nyeri Richards, Director of YAP’s Las Vegas WIA Program, and Assistant Director Neosha Smith, described their work with the juvenile justice re-entry population.
YAP presenters answered many questions about how YAP works within WIA parameters to provide a high level of individualized support for young people with extremely complex needs.
Many attendees were surprised to learn that YAP transports kids to get ID’s and provides extra, non-mandated classes.
A story of particular interest was that of a young YAP client who owned only one shirt appropriate for an upcoming job interview. When he spilled coffee on the shirt before the interview, YAP staff did a fast shopping trip to replace it. The young man was able to concentrate on interview questions instead of worrying about his appearance. Another story related to the WIA rule that funds can’t be used to feed kids. Attendees were surprised to learn that YAP keeps an on-site pantry stocked with donated and other non-WIA funded food ready to serve when kids show up hungry.
“They wanted to know “How do you do it?” and “How do you find the time?” Neosha Smith recalled. YAP’s presenters responded with a simple truth: staff are extremely dedicated to our kids and we do what it takes to help them succeed.