Young adulthood can be a crazy time in the lives of those exploring it. From graduating high school, starting college or moving into a career, it can all be extremely overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few organizations and programs in Juneau that can help support teens and young adults in this transition period.
We connected with Kate Prussing, the Workforce Development Coordinator at SERRC. She has been working at SERRC for 24 years and is currently running the JobX program. It is designed for older youth ages 16-24 to help complete a high school equivalency and/or get enrolled into a post-secondary career training or linked and placed into work opportunities. JobX is a great program for young adults who have dropped out of high school and need to get reconnected to complete high school or a GED; it is also for those youth who have completed but for a variety of reasons may not be engaged in employment or training and may need additional guidance to launch.
“At SERRC-The Learning Connection we have GED and career awareness prep classes as well as general adult education classes to better prepare young adults (& older adults) for the rigor of college classes. Our MATCH program integrates academics, employment skills and career readiness skills into a fun and hands-on training program that really helps people design plans for their future. Another program that has been very successful for many of our youth are the free construction and trades training programs that have resulted in improved work skills and higher paying work opportunities for youth.”
Kate pointed out that youth that are engaged, improving their skills and enter the workforce better prepared is a great thing for the community as a whole, but often times, young adults face adversities that can make these tasks challenging.
“Often times the youth we serve have had their education interrupted or disrupted; for example they may have moved several times, they have a complicated family/home life or lack a regular home, many experience mental, physical or substance use health issues; programs like ours help to get them reconnected to academics, career opportunities, as well as social services and supports that help to ensure the other programs are successful.”
How can the community better support these kids?
These young adults are the future of Juneau and community members can continue to support them in their journey by investing in them and caring about them.
For example, the JobX program has a work experience program that pays the wages for the youth through grant funds but local businesses "host" them and supervise them in their work setting so they might grow their employment skills. Another great support is donating gift cards as incentives to give to youth as they meet important goals.
Kate of SERRC and ROCK Juneau encourage the community to help identify youth that might benefit from these services and help get them connected!
Thanks Kate and SERRC for all you do for Juneau’s young adults!