On Tuesday, March 29th, New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a new vocational training and apprenticeship program that is aimed at the professional development of foster care youths. Nearly 100 foster children receive help launching their careers with city-funded job training and internships over the course of two years.
The program will provide opportunities for professional development to adolescents in the foster care system between the ages of 16 to 24. The program, known as V-CRED, will offer job training, certification courses, and internship/apprenticeship opportunities to young New Yorkers in foster care. Mayor Adams also announced that the city hopes to expand after a two-year pilot trial.
The V-CRED program will help the youths prepare for successful careers in the following five professions – Information Technology, Electrician’s Assistant, Allied Health, Pharmacy Technicians, and Construction Trades.
Mayor Adams stated, “If we don’t educate, we incarcerate, which is why one of my most important jobs is advocating for our youth who have been in foster care or had contact with the juvenile justice system.”
The training will be received through courses at Kingsborough Community College, paid internships and apprenticeships, as well as job opportunities with the employer hosting the internship as part of the program. The V-CRED initiative, which is being developed in collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The City University of New York (CUNY), and private sector businesses, will support youngsters in their education, career, and personal development in New York City.
In a press release covering the announcement of the career training program, Mayor Adams said, “This new V-CRED vocational training and apprenticeship program is going to help our young people prepare for good jobs and a bright future. But it’s about more than learning. It’s about guidance and mentorship because when it comes to helping young people plan their future: We are not going to just let them wing it, we are going to take them under our wing.”
The city hopes that the program will open opportunities at worksites where youth can gain work experience and on-the-job training that will further their careers. V-CRED will also work in participation in the Young Adult Work Opportunities for Rewarding Careers (YA WORC) program, which is offered in collaboration with Columbia University and includes a facilitated support group.
V-CRED will start as a two-year trial program, supporting 90 foster adolescents in total. The program consists of three main components – professional certification training, paid internships, and job placement. The program follows a model optimized for career pathways and offers age-appropriate career-ready planning that includes a career and education plan as well as a professional network that participants can work to build. Paid internships are being offered by private-sector employers and community-based organizations.
The administration has forged partnerships with Common Point Queens (Pre-HSE/HSE classes), Kingsborough Community College (Pharmacy Tech and EMT classes), and Metro Placements to make sure that once the adolescents decide what they want to pursue, there is specific training to the given industry.
Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Jess Dannhauser said, “ACS is committed to providing young people with the education and career opportunities they deserve, and this new V-CRED vocational training program is one important way they are working to do that.” Dannnhauser declared, “We know that when we invest in opportunities for our young people, they work hard and seize them. By providing youth in foster care with access to professional certifications, paid internships, and employment opportunities — and keeping these opportunities in place beyond foster care into young adulthood — we are working to ensure they have the right support to pursue their dreams and be successful adults.”