Financial Empowerment and Career Development for LA Foster Youth
Twinspire financial empowerment and career development series teaches foster youth about resume, career exploration, budgeting and money management. We acknowledge that youth need a practical component to learning – direct cash support. It is a disheartening dilemma to train youth to save their money, if they have none. Hence, while teaching youth these financial and career development skills, we would like to provide them with a stipend of $500 to practice the financial skills they are learning over the 8-week course.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Fernando Valley
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
High school graduation rates are significantly lower than their non-foster peers at 58%, only 3-8% will ever matriculate & earn a bachelor degree, & foster youth continue to be overrepresented in LA’s annual homeless counts. The LA foster care system is racially biased against minority populations such as 24% of youth in are Black youth and 8% are Latinx youth. This project seeks to increase financial literacy, career development, personal development, & management skills of transition age foster youth (16-24) to immediately improve & empower their education & life situations. Studies have shown a better understanding of how & why to pay for training and education after high school increases the likelihood of degree completion, career fulfillment, & manageable debt (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2017). We need to provide support & access to resources in this crucial stage of their lives.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
This program will have a Financial Literacy workshop once a week for 4 weeks and a Career Development workshop once a week for 3 weeks, and a Graduation session for one week during a 2-month period. The workshops will be 1 hour and 30 minutes. One hour will be allotted to the workshop and lecture material, and 30 minutes will be allotted for practice and Questions & Answers. An initial intake survey will be used to assess the current needs of the students and tailor the material to meet them where they are. Each session we will include community builders, financial literacy curriculum and activities, self-exploration, career development curriculum, and Q&A time. Participants who complete the entire workshop series will receive a $500 “investment” stipend to use toward establishing financial stability and career development (savings account, college tuition, work readiness, etc.). Our target population for this program will be transition age foster youth (ages 16-24) who reside in Los Angeles County. Workshop topic schedule includes: Financial Literacy Session 1: Budgeting Session 2: Credit Cards & Debt Management, Session 3: Credit Reports & Credit Scores Session 4: Identity Theft / Financial goal-setting Career Development Session 1: Self-Exploration (Interests, Strengths, Values, & Personality) Session 2: Career Exploration & Networking Session 3: Resume & Cover Letter Graduation Closing Session: Culminating Project, Evaluation, & Certificate/Stipend Distribution
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
According to the National Foster Youth Institute (2022), “the challenges current and former foster youth face academically are very likely to translate into increased difficulty in finding and holding gainful employment when they enter the workforce.” In the long-term, this project will create stronger communities and neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County by providing youth participants with the knowledge & skills needed to acquire employment & develop financial stability & create generational wealth in the places & families where they live, work, & go to school. We will have meaningful discussions, foster-youth specific curriculum, that is led by youth and staff from similar backgrounds in order to increase the financial independence, self-sufficiency, career readiness of transition age foster youth. Youth will be able to create balanced personal budgets, achieve their financial goals including establishing strong credit histories, & opening checking and savings accounts.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We will assess our goals and outcomes through a pre & post survey. We will embed a culminating project into the sessions to ensure that there is application of what is learned. In addition, as we culminate the program, we will have an exit interview with each participant and discuss their financial and career goals, how the program impacted them, and how they will continue to apply their learning to their everyday life. For our data procedures, we will assess retention rate during the program. This project will measure success by the following outcomes: 85% of youth will complete all workshop sessions College-focused youth will have student loan repayment plans consisting of 8-10% of expected gross monthly income 100% of program participants will have a personalized budget and spending plan 100% of program participants will receive credit score and report 100% of program participants will know 3 key tips of a Resume & CV 100% of program participants will identify 4 of their strengths
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 50
Indirect Impact: 1,200