EDCOE Foster Youth Summer Employment Program Remains Strong
10:10 AM - July 28, 2021
This summer, 14 transitional age youth gained professional skills and hands-on experience during an innovative internship program through the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE). In response to the pandemic, the program was expanded to include homeless along with former and current foster youth. Initiated in 2009, this annual program provides at-risk youth with meaningful guidance, training, and employment opportunities. Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, EDCOE adhered to health and safety regulations to ensure the program was possible for students during this summer.
Sheila Silan, EDCOE’s Foster Youth Services Program Coordinator, stressed the benefits of the program and stated, “Especially during this pandemic, we are very appreciative of employers who were willing to factor in another young worker into their already challenging COVID protocols and procedures. Without their extra flexibility and willingness we would not be able to do this program during these challenging times.”
Interns began with a week at EDCOE gaining soft skills to help them professionally. Behavioral health and youth specialists from the area taught time management, problem-solving, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, stress management, and more. Next, the youth attended workshops on resume writing, interviewing, communication, health, and substance abuse, offered by the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency and the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency.
Interns were then assigned to worksites throughout the community including Boys and Girls Club – Western Slope, Cool Care Daycare, El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, EDCOE: Facilities, Special Services, and one shared between several departments, Exhilaration Station, Kneisels, Northern California Construction Training, Progress House, and Taylor Made Construction. The interns and their families received ongoing support with lunches, and financial assistance for appropriate work attire.
The summer foster youth internship program is a community effort, involving a number of local agencies and small businesses. Laurel Brent-Bumb, Chief Executive Officer of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, has regularly employed interns and expressed, “The Chamber values our participation in the Foster Youth Internship each year. We see our interns grow in knowledge, confidence and take away many new skills. It is always very satisfying when the young people that have worked the program continue to stay connected and come back to visit consistently. We intend to continue to support this very valuable program into the future.”
The internship program culminated in a celebratory luncheon at EDCOE with Dr. Ed Manansala, El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools. Interns received a certificate of completion, a letter of reference, and a resume. Dr. Manansala addressed the group and expressed, “Thank you to Sheila, her team members, our agency partners, and community leaders who ensure these young adults have meaningful opportunities to learn, serve, and fulfill their potential.”
Participants in the foster youth summer internship are grateful for this unique program. When Dr. Manansala asked an EDCOE intern what their favorite part of the programs was, he responded, “My cool co-workers!”For more information about this and other EDCOE programs, visit www.edcoe.org