Y.O.U. – Teaching BrainWise to Teens and Young Adults in Cleveland

Posted On: August 9, 2019

Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) provides school-based programs, community-based workforce programs, and entrepreneurship education that annually serves thousands of teens and young adults. Founded in 1982, Y.O.U. is recognized for long-term positive outcomes that include job placement and retention (>70%), high school graduation (> 95%), post-secondary success (enrolled in college or vocational school), enlistment in the military, or being employed (85%). Students enrolled in their Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) program are on a path to economic self-sufficiency.

Pam Macer, Chief Program Officer for the agency’s Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) program, introduced BrainWise as a training program for coaches in 2013. In 2019, she arranged for a third training for Y.O.U.’s new staff. Previously trained coaches also attended and shared teaching tips with new coaches. LarKesha Burns, JOG Program Manager, supervised all three trainings and supports the coaches’ integration of the 10 Wise Ways into JOG programs.

High ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores are the norm for teens in Y.O.U.’s school-based programs and the young adults ages 18-24 enrolled in Y.O.U’s workforce development initiatives. Their backgrounds include experiencing five or more categories of abuse, neglect, or loss.  Additional barriers that Y.O.U. participants can possess are poor school attendance, low academic performance, past suspension, probation and/or expulsion, lack of motivation or maturity, and inadequate or no work experience.

Y.O.U staff address these challenges with evidence-based approaches that include assigning a Career Coach to each participant who guides them with frequent electronic contacts and face-to-face meetings. These long-term relationships are the hallmark of Y.O.U. The coaches, experienced educators and counselors with at least a four year Bachelor’s degree, receive additional training that includes BrainWise.

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