Branching Out Youth Become Workforce Ready

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Did you know that more than one third of the young adults that seek the guidance of Omaha Home for Boys have never been employed? Those who have had previous employment most likely found themselves in a low paying job where they barely earned enough to scrape by.

Sarah, an Independent Living Specialist at Branching Out, conducts a budgeting class with Calvin, a youth in the Branching Out Program. Calvin connected with Branching Out in late February 2019 and by mid-March he was already approaching completion of Level I of the program. Along with the budgeting course, Calvin also completed a resume class and cooking class.

Because finding and maintaining employment is such a significant hurdle for the Home’s young people, our Branching Out Independent Living Program has made workforce readiness a top priority when it comes to preparing youth for a stable future. Branching Out provides numerous courses throughout each level of the program to help clients find sustainable employment. Youth are offered classes on resume writing, professionalism, long term career planning and even time management and budgeting.

“Our goal at Branching Out is to not only help youth find a job that pays enough and has enough hours to meet their financial needs, but also one that is accessible from public transportation as many of our young people do not own their own car,” said Keenan Page, Independent Living Employment
Manager at Omaha Home for Boys. “We also focus heavily on budgeting to help our young people learn how to save for their own transportation and other basic needs.”

Another key piece of Branching Out’s workforce readiness training is connecting youth with internships that offer on-the-job training and career advancement opportunities. In fact, a partnership was formed with Warren Distribution, one of the leading manufacturers of aftermarket automotive
lubricants, in August of 2018 and so far four young adults from Branching Out have taken advantage of this internship opportunity.

“Our internship is unique because interns get hands-on training and the independence to work on their own after training,” said Melanie Smith, Outreach and Recruitment Specialist at Warren Distribution. “This really gives them a hand up and sets them up for success after the internship when they can apply for any openings we may have. The goal is to retain our interns so we start prepping them near the end of their internship to start looking at open positions and applying.”

One young man in particular found employment success upon connecting with Branching Out and the internship at Warren Distribution. Kyler* had just moved into an apartment after going through bouts of homelessness when he worked with Branching Out to land his internship at Warren Distribution. He was relying on rides to work or taking the bus but both proved to be unreliable. Branching Out purchased him a bicycle that he rode 13 miles to work until he got his first few paychecks and got a car. Once Kyler secured reliable transportation there was no looking back. He began to excel in his internship at Warren Distribution and was even offered a full time position. He is now earning a living wage and has found the stability needed to work towards paying off debt.

“Kyler was always able to get jobs easily but finding ones that had development potential and gave him the wages and hours needed to make ends meet was much harder to achieve,” said Keenan. “Kyler led the way with his networking and determination to grow his skills. I’m just glad that Branching Out could be there to guide him.”

The determination of our young adults paired with Branching Out’s workforce readiness training has proven to be a winning combination. Last year alone, 268 young adults and families were served by our Branching Out Independent Living Program. Because of your generous support:

4,285 employment, housing, transportation, education and independent living services were provided
81 new jobs were obtained
88 clients acquired their vital documents, such as their driver’s license and birth certificate
76.4% of young adults achieved their goals and completed program objectives

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Your support today helps connect young adults with the life-changing programs and caring mentors at Omaha Home for Boys. Without you, this connection is lost and so are the youth.

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*While this is a true account, the name of the youth and some identifying details have been changed in order to be respectful of his privacy.

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