At-Risk Youths

images year up

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections report for 2012 – 2022, “Occupations that typically require post-secondary education for entry are expected, on average, to grow faster than occupations that require a high school diploma or less.” About 20.4 million new jobs will be available over this period. The report goes on to say that wages are higher for those with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees — averaging about $60,000 a year. Yet, it is estimated that 14 million of these higher-level positions will go unfilled due to the post-secondary educational requirements.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is a large part of the population that is being neglected and ignored in our society.  It is common knowledge that low-income, urban young adults will never have the chance that their middle- to upper-class peers do when they graduate high school. Problems dealing with violence in school, problems at home, money issues, hunger, suicide, gang-related killings and substance abuse all weigh in heavily on these children in America. Sometimes just surviving day to day is all they can manage. Possibly one in three of these youths could end up with hood disease — a moniker given to inner-city kids with PTSD. If they do survive school and graduate, the employment prospects are pretty grim. According to Huffington Post, “Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working.”

It’s almost ironic that so many jobs will be available, but many young people remain unemployed for lack of qualification and/or training. So many are hungry for a chance, eager to make a place for themselves in the world, yet there is so little opportunity afforded them.

However, there is a chance for some through the social entrepreneurial company Year Up.  This organization understood that these young people could rise to higher expectations if the right situation presented itself. Flyers were sent out, inviting at-risk youths to apply.  The offer was this: Have a high school diploma or GED, show up for one year, learn skills in the financial field or in IT, get up to 23 college credits, and a stipend for expenses, work one-on-one with a mentor, and possibly hold an internship with a major company.

Social workers are on staff to help with private issues that may be insurmountable for someone so young; social skills in the workplace are taught so that the students will be able to function in a business social environment with grace and diplomacy.

The company has had spectacular results since it opened in 2000. They have served 8,500 young adults, and have provided interns for 250 corporate partners. Eighty-five percent of graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the program. Employed Year Up graduates earn an average of $15 per hour — the equivalent of $30,000 per year, and go up to $50,000 a year or more.

Companies like JP Morgan, which were once reluctant to take on these newly trained interns, are now eager to have them on board, and pay up to $23,000 for each intern at their company. Other corporate partners include Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Boston Children’s Hospital, American Express, The Huffington Post, Twitter and many others.

Advertisements

She’s My Dad by Iolanthe Woulff

Intriguing! Honest! Refreshing!

My first thought when I saw the high ratings for “She’s My Dad” was the author must have a lot of friends–the book cannot be that good.  And, even though I do review books I am happy to report that all the reviews are accurate.  There’s no fudging on this one.

“She’s My Dad” is not what I expected it to be.  It is not a journey of mismatched sour romances; nor it is a bShe's My Dad Coverook of soul searching, familiar movies, or transsexuals. Even though the book does have a transsexual person in it, it is not about the process or the whys and whatnots. It is a modern day allegory that shows the inside truth of people set in a northern Virginia college town.  The college openly accepts everyone through their doors who wants an education; but, there are some people who were bred in Southern tradition and are set about what they feel should be right and proper—and, they are not happy about Windfield College. And, they plan to do something about it.

This book is as fun as it is smart.  It is not written in the typical fifth-grade English that most novels today are. Actually, there are interesting words that pique one’s curiosity of how the characters interact with each other; however, not so many as to bog down the flow of the storyline. In addition to the intelligence of the book, it is witty, clever, and engaging—full of suspense and mystery.  Ms. Woulff has an amazing ability to paint the character portraits with incredible sharpness and clarity so you don’t lose sight of who is doing what.

What further surprised me was the interesting storyline.  I certainly was not expecting sub-plots that involved big ugly brutes and wealthy crime bosses who were involved in home-grown terrorism.  There are many interesting side stories that puzzle into the main characters’ lives and plot of the book.  Every one of them is clearly defined and is woven ever so carefully into the climax of the novel.  Normally, this type of literature (crime, guns, things that go boom, etc.) does not interest me; but, this was so well written I could not put it down.  The more I read, the h
ungrier I got.

Be forewarned that there are a few characters that use foul language occasionally; and, there are some scenes that are briefly sexual. That being aside, considering the sensitive nature of some of the material, I felt, it was handled with great care.

Overall, I absolutely loved the book!  Loved it!  The message it brings us is so important—so necessary, that I wish it were in every library, college, and bookstore in America.  Better than that—it really needs to be a movie.

Note: I’d like to thank both Iolanthe Woulff for this lovely copy of “She’s My Dad” and Review the Book.com for this opportunity.

SHE’S MY DAD at Amazon

  • File Size: 653 KB
  • Print Length: 471 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1432744054
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (November 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030EG3HW