CASA to Receive Grant for Job Skills Initiative

CASA (Community Action for Safe Alternatives) is on the receiving end of a $32,500 grant dedicated to a job skills initiative they have called Youthworks. These assets will come from the ‘Shannon Grant,’ which funds anti-gang and youth violence prevention efforts undertaken by law enforcement, community-based organizations, and government agencies in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Youthworks will be a collaborative initiative that includes a partnership between CASA, the Winthrop Public Schools, and the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. The focus will be on identifying students who are having difficulty in identifying long-term career goals, and to present these students with opportunities within the community.

“Our hope is to shed more light on opportunities for young people and to connect them to meaningful career possibilities,” said CASA Director LeighAnn Eruzione. “We want the end goal to be an apprenticeship or even a job for these stu-dents.”

As part of the new initiative, CASA hired Jennifer Reth as the Youthworks Coordinator. Reth will be responsible for researching what programs are available to the communi-ty and meeting directly with youth. A big part of her job will be to teach resume and in-terviewing skills, as well as tools to enhance professionalism and work ethic. Reth will follow a career development program to ensure job applicants are on track.

“In school students receive a lot of college readiness support but not all students fall under that track,” said Reth. “Helping students identify where their passions lie is key to helping prepare them for future jobs and correlates to success in school whether it’s the rest of their high school experience or beyond. Research has shown that students feel more engaged in school and their future when they are able to see the connection between their studies and real-world applications, connecting students to real-world experiences and soft skills training will be a driving force behind this program. CASA’s defining principals for this project is coaching and mentoring. Participants will gain a uniquely meaningful experience, exposing them to new ways of envisioning their aca-demic and professional careers, helping them develop the skills to realize their vision is possible.”

If Winthrop businesses want to learn about how they can get involved, please contact Betsy Shane, Executive Director of the Winthrop Chamber of Com-merce: [email protected] or Jennifer Reth: [email protected]

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