Program Offers Education, Work Opportunities for St. Louis Youth

Personal stories put a face on successful program for youth

November 7, 2011 | 4 min reading time

This article is 11 years old. It was published on November 7, 2011.


      Case studies from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) demonstrates how Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth programs help young people complete education, gain work experience, and actively engage in the career planning.  Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that students who drop out of high school are substantially more likely than high-school graduates to be unemployed or not participate in the workforce. Fully 32 percent of high-school dropouts were not in the workforce; that is, neither working nor looking for work, at age 23. The following success stories resulted from joint effort by cooperating employers, SLATE's job developers, and, most importantly, focused young people determined to become self-sufficient and eager to enter into exciting and promising new careers. Below are some of their stories:    


      Alecia Selmon
Alecia-Selmon-webEnrolled into WIA Youth Out-of-school Program in 2009 as a High School dropout and a single parent receiving government assistance, Selmon was able to obtain her GED and become certified nursing assistant (CNA) in August 2011. The same day she received her certificate, she was offered a CNA position. SLATE helped her with uniform and nursing supplies necessary for her job. Tremendously excited about her life's new direction, Selmon said she owes to the program more than words can describe because her life is finally on track.    


      Charles Aaron
Charles-Aaron-webEntered WIA Youth Out-of-school Program in 2010, Charles Aaron was a High School dropout and a homeless individual who slept on friends' couches.  He later earned his GED at the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation and through SLATE was placed into work as a Laundry Aide and Maintenance worker. Now Aaron works full-time at the Parkside Towers as a Laundry Aide and lives in this own apartment. He enjoys his job and hopes to stay there for a long time.    


      Michael Davis
Michael-Davis-webEntered WIA Youth Out-of-school Program in 2010 with the goal of becoming independent, Davis at first struggled with motivation and attendance. After working with a SLATE youth counselor, Davis made a surprising turn-around. Now he works full-time at Lester's Restaurant as a dishwasher earning close to $1,200 a month. His goal is to gain more stability and experience at his current position and eventually meet the requirements to work in the kitchen of a hospital.    


      Deidra Buchanan
Deidra-Buchanan-webEntered WIA Youth Out-of-school Program in 2010 with a goal to work in a Nursing Home or Hospital. With no work experience, and having tested Basic Skills Deficient at the beginning of the program, she is now attending Forest Park Community College with the goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Buchanan works part-time at Geitner Nursing Home as a Dietary Server and says the job is perfect for her because it works with her school schedule and gives experience she will need in the future.    


      Lakeshia Bracey
Lakeshia-Bracey-webEntered WIA Youth Out-of-school Program in 2010 and is looking forward to a new career in the health care field.  Bracey was initially placed by SLATE into a work experience as Dietary Aide and Childcare worker. Soon after, she started out working part-time as a Dietary Aide at Geitner Nursing Home and recently became full-time. Bracey is getting ready to move into her own apartment and plans to go back to school.    


      Jeremy Johnson
Jeramy-Johnson-webEnrolled into the WIA Youth Program as a homeless and unemployed individual with no income. After graduation from Construction Career Academy, he was placed into laundry and maintenance positions as part of his work experience program at SLATE. He gained occupational skills and was offered employment as a Laundry Aid at Geitner Nursing Home. Johnson is currently working full-time and is part of a union. His supervisors wish they could "clone Jeremy" and cited his exceptional work ethics. Johnson lives with a friend and is saving money to buy his first car.    


      Miranda Prince
Miranda-Prince-webEnrolled into the Program in 2010 as a High School dropout, unemployed and homeless, with almost no work experience, Prince was desperate to get training and gain occupational skills. As part of her work experience program with SLATE, Miranda worked as a Facility Assistant at the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation and as an Office Assistant at a nursing home. After earning her GED, she became permanently employed as a full-time Specimen Transporter by Barnes Jewish Hospital. She has been able to afford her own apartment and is "happier than she has ever been," with plans to one day enter medical school.    


      Samon Porter
Samon-Porter-webAfter entering the Youth Program in 2010, unemployed and struggling to find permanent employment, Porter wasn't sure what career she wanted to pursue. After going through work experience training as a Child Caregiver and an Office Assistant at a Health Center, she realized she wanted to work in the healthcare field. In April 2011, she was hired as a Specimen Transporter by Barnes Jewish Hospital, and was also offered another part-time job as a Home Health Aide for Cooperative Home Care. Porter said she enjoys both of her jobs and appreciates the assistance she received from the WIA program. She said that if it weren't for help she received at SLATE, she doesn't know if she could see so clearly right now. Currently, Porter is working on her Bachelor's degree which she hopes to complete in two years.    


      Many youth employment and training programs are available through SLATE and its Partners. Call (314) 589-8000 and ask to speak with a Youth Representative.    


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