EDCOE Foster Youth Summer Employment Program Empowers At-Risk Youth

by Placerville Newswire / Aug 11, 2019 / comments

[Written by EDCOE Intern]

This summer, 12 high school foster youth gained professional skills and hands-on experience during an innovative internship program through the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE). Initiated in 2009, this annual program provides at-risk youth with meaningful guidance, training, and employment opportunities.  

Sheila Silan, EDCOE’s Foster Youth Services Program Coordinator, stressed the benefits of the program and stated, “Many foster youth in this age-group have foster parents who work during the day, so students spend their summers being unproductive. Helping them acquire skills to be successful in the workplace is critical for future success and will decrease reliance on social services in the future. This program strategically develops the soft skills that they need to succeed professionally.”

Interns begin with a week in the classroom at the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College, receiving an orientation to the campus and academic programs. Behavioral health specialists from the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians teach time management, problem-solving, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, stress management, and more.  Next, the youth attend workshops on resume writing, interviewing, communication, health, and substance abuse, offered by the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency, the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency and Folsom Lake College team members. 

Interns are then assigned to worksites throughout the community including Rock The Spectrum Kids Gym, The Windfall Magazine, Breaker Glass, EDCOE, El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, Progress House, Stymeist Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, and multiple departments within El Dorado County - Government. Once underway, the interns and their foster families receive ongoing support with daily transportation, 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. Brian Ramsey, the general manager of Stymeist Inc., is a new employer to the Summer Youth Foster Program this year and expressed, “We are excited to partner with EDCOE and empower our intern with professional skills. We did not join this program for our benefit, but to help El Dorado County youth. I am proud of our employees, as they embraced our intern from day one.” 

Linda Soto, a certified foster parent, enjoys watching these young adults learn in a healthy workplace, “I think the program is a great opportunity for our young foster youth. Not only does it help them adapt to the work environment, but it teaches them a whole new set of skills that they can use in their future careers.”  

The internship program culminates in a celebratory luncheon with program partners at Red Hawk Casino. Interns receive a certificate of completion, letter of reference, completed master application, and resume.

Participants in the foster youth summer internship are grateful for this unique program. “I learned many new traits and skills,” stated one intern, “I’m thankful for this oppourtunity and how it’s experiences will help me later in life” 

Another commented, “This was the best internship I have ever experienced because my co-workers were amazing, and I had a lot of support in my workspace.” 

El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Manansala, expressed his gratitude to luncheon attendees. “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.”

Outstandingly, 11 interns completed the program this summer using the professional and soft skills they learned along the way. For more information about this and other EDCOE programs, visit www.edcoe.org