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First national employment collaboration between the foster care system and the grocery industry
iFoster has partnered with Raley’s Family of Fine Stores to develop a new hiring program for foster youth. To date, the organizations have placed seven youths in Raley’s stores in the Sacramento region, with a goal of expanding the program to other stores.
The Foster Youth Hiring Program seeks to find employment opportunities for foster youths who are close to aging out of the foster system. Employment is the first step to developing a stable and prosperous future. iFoster identifies, screens and trains both the youth candidates and Raley’s team members in order to create a successful match.
“We are committed to helping our communities prosper. Our partnership will help youths gain valuable work experience and the opportunity for employment advancement,” said Mark Foley, Raley’s Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Labor Relations. “We invite other companies to join Raley’s and iFoster in considering these incredible young people when making employment choices.”
Many emancipated foster youths lack a supportive network of adults. Within the first 2 to 4 years after “aging out” of the system, an estimated 50% of these young adults are unemployed, 70% are on public assistance and 50% will experience homelessness.
“We cannot thank Raley’s enough for their leadership and support of the iFoster jobs program,” said Serita Cox, iFoster’s Executive Director. “Not only has Raley’s hired our first cohort of youths, but they are providing invaluable guidance in developing the pre-employment curriculum and assessment to develop each youth’s soft skills and job skills, as well as post-employment management support and trainings to give each of our youths the best chance to succeed and progress in their careers.”
May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals and other members of the community who make a meaningful difference in the lives of the nearly 400,000 children and youths in the foster care system.
“Providing educational and employment opportunities for foster youths is absolutely critical,” said Jimmy Wayne, former foster child, country music singer and New York Times bestselling author of his autobiography, Walk to Beautiful. “Most of these children age out of the foster care system well before they are capable of taking care of themselves. It’s significant that a company like Raley’s has stepped up to provide meaningful employment opportunities that will help these young people transition into adulthood and become self-sustaining.”
Watch coverage of the Foster Youth Job Program on Good Day Sacramento
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