Recent News & Blog

Posted on April 30th, 2021 in Uncategorized

 | 

The COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of abating in the United States, but other crises remain. Youth unemployment remains nearly double the overall unemployment rate (March 2021 11.1% vs. the overall rate of 6%), and the triple pandemic has had devastating effects on the mental health of young people (and the adults who work with them).

Today NYEC is releasing a report that details how several youth workforce agencies approached integrating three approaches that are informed by the science of adolescent brain development: executive skill development (ES), positive youth development (PYD), and trauma-informed care (TIC), collectively referred to as EPT approaches. These approaches are defined as EPT:

  • Executive function skills are “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.”
  • Positive Youth Development is an intentional pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities in a manner that recognizes a youth’s strengths and provide opportunities to foster positive relationships and stronger leadership skills.
  • Trauma-informed care is a service delivery approach “that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, ultimately creating opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

The Translating Adolescent Brain Science (TABS) project engaged six community-based organizations (CBOs) in Indianapolis and Phoenix. Intermediaries in each city –EmployIndy and Opportunities for Youth, respectively – supported their work. Pathways Consultants provided access to coaches for staff of each organization. The project began in early March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, and coincided with the protests around police violence in the summer 2020.

EPT approaches resulted in a variety of changes to programming. At Keys to Work in Indianapolis, staff worked with youth on executive skills assessments. These helped them explore their strengths and struggles, which in turn helped them build confidence in succeeding in areas that previously caused them doubt, such as education courses. Unexpected outcomes emerged when Opportunities for Youth, the Phoenix intermediary, used positive youth development techniques to task youth with designing their own convening. As a result, rather than workforce programming or educational disruptions, the convening focused on timely issues of mental health and suicide prevention. The Community Alliance of the Far Eastside, in Indianapolis, organized virtual events with youth and community police officers to help the youth reclaim their power and understand their traumatic challenges from the personal to the systemic.

The TABS Project highlighted several areas for further work in translating adolescent brain science to practice:

  • Providing CBOs with the capacity needed to reorient their cultures around EPT approaches.
  • Deepening documentation of best practices in the workforce development context, especially for trauma-informed care and executive skills.
  • Beginning to identify metrics or ways of measuring the infusion and impact of these practices.
  • Enabling system-wide adoption of EPT approaches, with attendant trainings, learning communities.
  • Exploring each approach and how it might be incorporated at different ages for youth and young adults, and work to make the tools relevant to those ages.

The TABS Project offered organizations a new lens on youth development, as well as a set of tools to support youth towards employment and education. Applying the lessons of this project, youth and young adult workforce organizations have the opportunity to improve education and employment outcomes by aligning their practice with what we know of adolescent brain development. We invite other communities to join the journey.

The Translating Adolescent Brain Science (TABS) Final Report

 


Posted on April 23rd, 2021 in Success Story, Uncategorized

When analyzing the barriers that job seekers face in seeking employment, educational attainment is a common obstacle ⎯ specifically high school completion. From March 2020 through March 2021, 55.7% of Marion County unemployment insurance claimants reported that they had a high school diploma or less. Individuals with lower levels of education or training often experience higher unemployment rates, lower median family income, and fewer opportunities for skills advancement. 

Through CARES Act funding distributed by the City of Indianapolis, Marion County adult education providers expanded services and funded more opportunities for individuals to receive the training and reskilling necessary to take the next step towards their education and career goals. “This investment allows for more residents to overcome barriers to pursuing and completing  post secondary education or training, which will better prepare them to land a good job in Indianapolis as the economy recovers,” said Marie Mackintosh, EmployIndy Chief Strategy Officer. 

The Rapid Reskilling grant has acted as a vital support to local adult education providers by reimbursing them for investments in COVID-affected participants enrolled in their adult education programs. Throughout the grant period at the height of the pandemic, the Rapid Reskilling grant paid over $4.4 million in reimbursements to Marion County adult education providers for use in improving their training and e-learning services. Providers and students accessed barrier-busting resources and technology solutions to adapt to the acute need for virtual and hybrid classroom models. Overall, this investment enabled more Marion County residents to finish high school, remediate basic skills, and pursue occupational training in high-wage, high-demand career pathways. 

The seven local providers that received support include: Goodwill Excel Centers, Indy Reads, Marian University, Warren Township Adult and Community Education, Washington Township Adult Education, Wayne Township Adult Education and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. Through Rapid Reskilling funds, these providers were able to collectively serve an additional 2,227 students between March and December last year. 

Take a moment to watch the video below and see the powerful impact that these adult education programs have had on individuals in our communities.

To learn more about adult education and upcoming training opportunities or to get connected to an adult education provider near you, visit: workoneindy.com/adult-ed/.