The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) Youth Services Department has long partnered with the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) to help prepare urban youth explore and plan for post-secondary careers. In recent years, Youth Services has expanded this partnership into the SLPS Initiative, a way to work on-site at City schools, interacting directly with entire classes of young men and women throughout the course of the academic year. Overall, the program has served over 500 youth since 2011.
The youth SLATE is serving at a number of high schools, including Beaumont, Roosevelt, Gateway, and Vashon, range in age from 17 to 21. In many cases, their family or housing situations present barriers to successfully attaining self-sustaining employment. Through SLATE’s youth service vendors – Family Workforce Centers of America, MERS Goodwill, Alternative Opportunities - JESS, Employment Connection, and Covenant House Missouri – at-risk students are now receiving personalized tutoring, leadership and volunteerism development, job readiness training, ACT test preparation, and follow-up.
This year, the Workforce Investment Act has made available printed job readiness preparation materials specifically designed for youth preparing to enter the workforce for the first time. These publications provide workplace related skill enhancement tutorials while building reading, math, and judgment skill levels.
After graduation, many youth in these programs immediately and actively seek employment; many others continue on to post secondary institutions to further develop their skills. SLATE took an important additional step by partnering with Ranken Technical College to immediately enroll a number of youth from Roosevelt High School into a short-term training program. Ranken President Stan Shoun and his faculty custom-designed an oil technician certification curriculum specifically to meet the needs of the graduates from Roosevelt. On October 29, the first completers received congratulations at a special ceremony held at the Ranken Tech campus.
Currently, youth from Beaumont High School are participating in training programs that will lead to CNA certification, cosmetology licenses, and culinary certification. SLPS Superintendant Dr. Kelvin Adams has requested that the program expand its presence at Sumner, a historic high school whose celebrated alumni include Tina Turner and Chuck Berry.
SLATE extends its warmest thanks to the many organizations and individuals that have contributed to the success of the SLPS Initiative. Working together, we have seen a significant overall increase in graduation, attendance, attitude, post-secondary enrollment, and job placement among the participants.
“Our strong collaboration has simply been amazing...Our youth are now in a better position to make healthier decisions and lead healthier lives,” said Alice Prince, SLATE Youth Services Manager.
St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment