WPTI Releases New Report on Mentored Internships for NYC Youth Aging Out of Foster Care System, with Briefing to Take Place on Friday, March 24

A Pinkerton Foundation and NYC Administration for Children’s Services-funded program offering mentored internships to young adults aging out of New York City’s foster care system shows real promise for improving these young adults’ career prospects and lives, per a new report released by Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI), a leading New York City-based workforce development intermediary that strengthens the city’s workforce development system by providing training and professional development services to job training and education professionals, capacity building and consulting services to workforce development programs and organizations, and systems building support to the citywide workforce ecosystem.

This new report, Building a Scaffold of Support for Young Adults in Foster Care: The Mentored Internship Program, explores the significant impact on the career and education outcomes of youth in foster care who participated in  WPTI’s Mentored Internship Program (MIP), developed in 2018 in partnership with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Pinkerton Foundation. Since that time, the program has served nearly 900 youth across 12 foster care agencies, offering work readiness, career exploration, and paid internship opportunities and pairing young adults with executive leaders at foster care agencies, who serve as mentors. After participating in MIP, these young adults are better equipped to make the transition to adulthood, and to make an informed decision regarding next steps in their education and career.

The program has made a major impact on participating youth, and will offer even greater results if given the opportunity to expand across and beyond New York City, to additional foster care agencies and/or to additional populations in need. Since MIP’s launch in 2018, 78 percent of participating youth have completed their internships. Following completion, 29 percent have obtained unsubsidized employment and another 38 percent enrolled in Summer Youth Employment. Most significantly, 90% of MIP participants continued in or reenrolled in education services, which has long-term positive implications for their future career success and economic self-sufficiency once young adults transition out of the foster care system.

Program specifics include the following:

  • Young adults participate in a paid 8-26 week internship, for up to 240 hours, enabling them to earn up to $3,600. Funding is provided through an array of public and private resources.
  • Throughout their internships, participants are paired with a mentor, typically someone who works at their agency but who is not directly involved in foster care. Examples include IT, finance, or development professionals.
  • In addition to the internship and mentorship components, youth participate in career exploration and peer learning workshops, and they receive one-on-one career counseling. During and after the program, they work with staff to set career and educational goals and make relevant connections for next steps that can help springboard their careers.
  • WPTI provides ongoing support and services to the participating foster care agencies, including a learning community, individualized coaching and technical assistance, and a Work-Based Learning Toolkit, which offers a framework and other tools for the agencies to provide a quality in-house internship program. In this work, WPTI works closely with partners Youth Development Institute at Ramapo for Children and Youth Communication.

Funders and supporters have remarked on the program’s success. Rick Smith, President of the Pinkerton Foundation, said, “The Mentored Internship Program has been a remarkable success story, More than 900 young people on the brink of aging out of foster care have had the opportunity to work with—and learn from—their agency supervisors. The mentors, in turn, have learned as well and found new meaning in their work. Whether the young people have gone on to continue their education, secure full-time employment or move on to more specialized internships, the mentored experience has been an important step on the path to becoming independent adults. We are proud of each and every graduate—and the mentors who have helped them along the way.”

Sharon Sewell-Fairman, CEO of WPTI stated, “The Mentored Internship Program is a point of pride for WPTI. The profound impact that it has had on the lives of young people aging out of the foster care system, and on the culture of organizations providing such care, are testaments to the success of the model, and to the work of the young adults, mentors, and program staff alike. Programs like MIP have the potential to create lasting change and promote real pathways to career and educational success for thousands of young adults, and we hope to have the opportunity to continue to scale our efforts and reach more young people in the future.”

Briefing on March 24

WPTI looks forward to the program’s continued growth and development, with the opportunity to change more lives and impact the career development of more youth and young adults. A briefing on this report, MIP’s success, and the future of the program will take place on Friday, March 24, from 9:00-11:00am. WPTI will share data and findings from the report, and discussions will take place involving key stakeholders from MIP. There will be opportunities for Q&A as well. To register for this no-cost briefing, please CLICK HERE.

Questions? Contact Justin Collins, Director of Field Building and Engagement, at jcollins@workforceprofessionals.org.