To provide comprehensive career development activities to youth
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s Youth Employment Program (YEP) launched in January 2007. YEP is a collaborative design between the County Office of Education and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department. YEP is an adjunct to the Sueños WIA program providing services to Santa Cruz County youth between the ages of 14 and 21 who meet certain criteria. These criteria include income eligibility, demographic profile and additional unmet needs. Student Support Services is committed to programs like YEP that match the County Superintendent’s goal to “[c]ontinually identify and develop programs and services, including transition services, for the unserved and underserved students in Santa Cruz County” (Goal 3.4a).
YEP is committed to expanding awareness, access and support to pursue educational and career opportunities for our program participants. In alignment with the County Superintendent’s goal to “[e]xpand career/technical education opportunities…that lead to successful preparation for the world of work and higher education opportunities” (Goal 3.2), YEP offers mentoring, paid internships, job shadowing, tutoring, counseling, workshops and a variety of other services to design an individualized program plan for each referred youth.
YEP staff engage the private sector in order to provide paid internships for qualified youth. This fosters an enriching and realistic career experience for the youth while simultaneously fulfilling the County Superintendent’s goal to “[g]arner increased support from the Business Community through enhanced collaboration” (Goal 4.1a). Often it is this internship experience that provides program participants with significant skill development and a professional reference to take to their next position. This internship can also confirm the participant’s desire to pursue their chosen career goals – or set new ones!