Philadelphia, PA -- Through a unique partnership with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., Employees Community Fund of Boeing is helping justice-involved Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey youth put their lives on a positive pathway.
Founded in 1975, YAP is a national nonprofit that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, education, and other systems in 35 states and Washington D.C. to deliver evidence-based community rehabilitative services as an alternative to youth incarceration and residential care/treatment. Neighborhood-based YAP Advocates and mobile therapists deliver strength-based, culturally responsive individualized services that connect program participants and their families with economic, educational, and emotional tools to help them thrive. In recent years, cities across the United States have begun partnering with YAP, applying the nonprofit’s unique holistic youth and family “wraparound” services model to help curb neighborhood violence.
The three-year $300,000 Boeing grant will enable YAP to provide up to 270 program participants with paid YAP Supported Work jobs and/or YAPWORX employment readiness training, two of the nonprofit’s economic mobility tools specially designed to prepare systems-involved youth for meaningful work. The Employees Community Fund of Boeing grant is part of the company’s Our Homes - Dynamic Communities fund, established to reduce barriers to wealth accumulation among Black residents and communities of color. More than 70 percent of YAP’s Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey program participants are youth of color, most of whom are Black.
“At Boeing, our strategy is focused on creating occupational opportunities for tomorrow’s innovators by investing in the skills required in today’s modern workplace,” said Boeing Global Engagement community investor, Michele Hengey. “Our partnership with the YAP Supported Work program aligns with our mission to prevent recidivism by reducing barriers for individuals of color involved in the criminal justice system. We are very proud of the life-changing impact this program has and will continue to have on regional youth of all backgrounds.”
YAP Supported Work program participants are matched with employers close to home, most often small Black and other minority-owned businesses in fields that match the youths’ interests and strengths. Through YAPWORX, the nonprofit recruits volunteers and manages opportunities for them to educate program participants about their jobs and businesses, provide mentoring, and create otherwise hard-to come by social capital connections.
“YAP’s strength-based culturally responsive community-based employment and job readiness curriculum include practical work experience, caring mentoring, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, resume building, and other experiential learning designed to address the unique needs of our program participants,” said YAP CEO Gary Ivory. “We are extremely grateful that our friends at Boeing recognize that changing the trajectory of youth and families facing life’s most complex challenges is key to improving community safety and economic wellbeing.
The new Boeing funding follows an initial one-year $100,000 grant that has already helped YAP connect 90 Philadelphia/Delaware County program participants to YAPWORX job readiness employment. In addition to connecting program participants to specialized workforce development services, YAP Advocates connect youth and their families with individualized educational and emotional tools as well as other economic resources to address their basic needs.
In 2019, a Baltimore YAPWORX impact analysis found 88% of participants showed significant improvement in industry-specific skills and behaviors. The program also had a significant impact on the motivation of participants to complete high school or post-secondary education. John Jay College of Criminal Justice research published in 2014 found 86% of YAP program participants remain arrest free, and six – 12 months after completing the program, nearly 90% of the youth still lived in their communities with less than 5% of participants in secure placement.
Learn more about YAP and how you can support the nonprofit at www.yapinc.org.