The Scotlan Youth & Family Center is a nonprofit agency providing career exploration programs for K-12 school age youth. Of the nearly 40 million Americans between the ages of 16 to 24 in the U.S., approximately five million are neither employed nor in school. That translates to 1 in 8, more than double the rate of some Western European countries. In rural areas of the U.S., the number grows to 1 in 5. Often called “disconnected youth” or “opportunity youth,” many of these folks have experienced homelessness, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. Still others have dropped out of the mainstream school system or been tangled up in the courts or foster systems—all of which contribute to work-limiting mental and physical disabilities and unemployment. This disconnection is not only difficult for the youth themselves, it is also costly to society in the long run: Young people who do not connect to the workforce early on tend to remain more vulnerable and reliant on government programs on an ongoing basis.
In order to draw on the potential of opportunity youth, it will be necessary to make cost-effective, targeted investments. Where such investments are effective, their economic valued is likely to be substantial. But these investments will need to be targeted toward youth who are on the margin of education and work. Approximately half of all opportunity youth are chronic, i.e. they have almost no formal education or work experience between the ages of 16 and 24. These youth will require a substantial array of social and economic supports. The other half are “under-attached “opportunity youth: these individuals are likely to have completed high school and may have participated in (but not completed) higher education; and they are likely to have accumulated some work experience. These under-attached youth are far from full participants in the economy but they may – given the appropriate reforms and supports – play a much more productive role.
SYFC has invested resources to train our staff to address the prevailing overwhelming trauma experienced by our reentry and local populations in Oakland related to gun and domestic violence. OYF/Scotlan Center has invested resources to train our staff in evidenced base nationally recognized based practices that use innovated processes and theory that deliver maximum results in as brief period as possible. OYF pursued this training because we are the front line “social paramedics”, who’s job is to stop the emotional bleeding and psycho-social wounds of at-risk youth & adults
The Scotlan Youth & Family Center is in partnership with the Rangnekar Institute of Management Studies and Research (India) / Atlanta Georgia Overseas Center to provide certification and post secondary courses.
All the higher education courses and programs are Certifications following the rules and standards of the National Education Foundation, The Rangnekar Institute of Management Studies and Research, SUNY (State University of New York), and IIIT Bangalore (International Institute of Information Technology – Bangalore). The IT certifications are in conjunction with the appropriate IT organizations.
Scotlan Center’s has a number of community focuses that are key to the program’s success.
· Youth who are overcoming stressors in their lives, such as poverty, discrimination, abusive situations, addictions, unstable homes, and academic life, are the primary focus of the Scotlan Center. Mentoring programs foster positive changes through goal setting, self-discipline, skill development, and friendship.
· The target market for Oakland Youth First are young people ages 6 to 24 that have developed destructive habits that will lead down a path of hopelessness. Oakland Youth First has created a series of linked-learning programs that pair the young person with a trained mentor who will assist him or her in developing the habits and perspective that will lead to success and hopefulness in the future.
Equipping educators to handle mental health concerns
While we can’t expect educators to become mental health experts, institutions must do something to better equip teachers to handle mental health issues in the classroom as well as with colleagues. Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) helps fill a substantial portion of the training gap educator’s face. MHFA is an evidence-based training program designed to instill participants with the necessary skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
SYFC Measures Emotional Intelligence in Candidates
Employers want to know you as a candidate. They not only want to determine if you have the technical aptitude and job specific expertise but if you will be a “fit” within their organizational culture. One way they can do this is by interviewing for emotional intelligence (EI) or sometimes referred to as the emotional quotient (EQ). As researchers Mayer and Salovey state, emotional intelligence is “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”
The Scotlan Center / Oakland Youth First program is an innovative program of wrap around services and training which require staff to have unique skills sets and facilities with the equipment and learning resources that will captivate participants while addressing the intellectual and emotional needs to be competitive and career ready. We will provide the training necessary for the mental health first aid, traumatic incident reduction, anger management and emotional intelligence and other technical skills areas. We require and screen for these basic skill capacities and desire to work with at-risk and other youth with challenges in our community. We provide pathways out of poverty.
The organization needs capacity grants to provide the core resources and basic operational cost to provide these innovative training and services to approximately 250 youth and their families a year.
The program is scalable and modular to adjust to financial and staffing resources. We are asking for a three year commitment to provide this basic level of funding as we seek other resources from foundations, municipal and volunteer organizations.