San Diego County Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas announced a $5 million award this week for the new Career Pathways for Foster Youth program, in partnership with the San Diego Workforce Partnership.
The initiative offers workforce and educational development opportunities and provides access to essential resources, mentorship and training to current and former foster youth ages 16-24.
Foster youth face unique challenges as they transition into adulthood, including limited access to educational opportunities and professional development resources, according to program officials. Career Pathways for Foster Youth seeks to address these challenges by offering a comprehensive framework that will equip these young people with skills, knowledge and support needed to excel in the workforce and reach their full potential.
“Compared to their peers, foster children too often lack the support systems that are crucial to transitioning smoothly into adulthood and embarking on a successful career pathway,” said Tony Young, interim CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “Together with the county of San Diego and our valued partners, we are opening doors for foster youth that have long been closed. This program will empower them to create their own paths and contribute meaningfully to our region’s workforce.”
Career Pathways for Foster Youth was launched in July and is overseen by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, with funding provided by the county. The program was developed by the county’s Foster Alumni and Youth Community Empowerment Subcommittee (FAYCES).
“Investing in the future of our foster youth is an investment in the future of our entire community,” Vargas said. “By providing them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed, we are not only breaking down barriers but also creating a stronger more resilient San Diego County.”
Promises2Kids, a San Diego nonprofit dedicated to creating a brighter future for foster children, along with Access Inc. and Just In Time for Foster Youth will provide program services including financial support with housing, mental health care, transportation and childcare.
Approximately 60,000 youth are in foster care in the state of California and more than 3,000 current and former foster youth are in San Diego County, according to the workforce partnership.
Career Pathways for Foster Youth program applications are open and accepted on a rolling basis. More information can be found at workforce.org/fosteryouth.