CSAC Bulletin Article

Governments Engaging Youth: Preparing the Next Generation of Local Leaders

The Institute for Local Government (ILG), A CSAC sponsored organization, recently released a new online toolkit to support and enhance youth-civic engagement and work-based learning efforts. The toolkit provides resources and materials for counties and schools to collaborate to implement dynamic programming that offers youth opportunities to become civically engaged and interested in public sector careers through job shadows or internships. You can find examples of different program models, sample curriculum plans and work-based learning guides in the new toolkit.

In June, ILG received a grant from the Workforce Investment Board to continue our work with specific California communities involved in work-based learning and youth-civic engagement work. The following is a short summary of the projects supported through this grant:

– Ventura County Area:

  • The Ventura County Civic Alliance is working with the Ventura County, City of Oxnard and the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce to provide youth opportunities to gain 21st century work skills through internships and jobs shadows and provide youth tools to become civically aware and engaged and bring authentic youth voice to community issues.

– Sacramento County Area:

  • The Sacramento Employment & Training Agency (SETA) and partners will work with emancipating foster youth to complete 32 hours of training on work readiness and workplace skills. Youth will receive paid work experience opportunities in the public sector along with case management and follow-up support. SETA will also provide public agencies with training on hiring foster youth and how to best support foster youth in employment. They will also work with CSU Sacramento to bring in graduate students studying social work to mentor students in job placement.
  • The Health Professions Academy in Sacramento will receive support to create high school public health curriculum and provide public health and advocacy internships for youth.
  • In Elk Grove, the partners (city, school district, chamber, community services district) will develop solutions to barriers related to students gaining civic and work experience including the availability of internships. The partners will work to increase employer awareness of youth work experience and establish formal partnerships with agencies.
  •  In Rancho Cordova the city, school district and PRO Youth (a non-profit focused on family strengthening) will work together to provide internships to youth while helping the youth become more civically-engaged in their community. The goal is to support the healthy development of young people in Rancho Cordova to build/improve college, career and civic readiness.
  • West Sacramento’s project aims to increase the number of local youth participating in internships from the local career pathways program and enhance a digital badge assessment system for its youth fire academy as well as pilot an exercise academy for youth interested in serving in the police department.

If your county is interested in developing or expanding a program like this, please visit ILG’s Governments Engaging Youth Toolkit at www.ca-ilg.org/GEYToolkit. Please contact Randi Kay Stephens at rstephens@ca-ilg.org or Hang Tran at htran@ca-ilg.org if you have any questions or would like additional information.

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