Last updated on May 11th, 2016 at 10:21 am
In conjunction with Foster Care Awareness Month, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores and iFoster commemorated one year of hiring foster youth by hosting 1,000 youngsters at the Sacramento River Cats game at Raley Field on May 7. The event marked the largest group of foster youth ever assembled for such a celebration.
“We are so grateful to Raley’s for being the first company to work with iFoster to develop our training program and hiring our youth,” said Serita Cox, executive director of iFoster. “We are expanding to other companies and regions as quickly as we can to meet demand, both from foster youth seeking permanent employment and employers seeking pre-qualified, eager-to-work talent.”
In the past year, Raley’s has hired 17 foster youth, with several more candidates now under consideration. Subsequently, 10 companies have joined Raley’s in employing foster youth who are aging out of the system, resulting in gainful employment for more than 100 youth in Placer and Los Angeles counties, with a 100 percent hiring success rate and 90 percent retention rate through their first six months on the job. Nine more companies are in the process of joining the program.
“We challenge other retailers to join the Foster Youth Hiring Program. It’s a win-win for the youth and business,” said Mark Foley, Raley’s SVP of HR and labor relations. “Providing employment opportunities to these young people is enhancing our workforce with dedicated, hard working employees, who in turn inspire their fellow team members.”
Many emancipated foster youths lack a supportive network of adults. Within the first two to four years after “aging out” of the system, an estimated 50 percent of these young adults are unemployed, 70 percent are on public assistance and 50 percent will experience homelessness.
The foster youth hiring program reaches beyond giving foster youth and their families a life changing opportunity. For every youth put on the path to independence, the program saves society an average of $1 million in lost contribution.
May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals and other members of the community who make a meaningful difference in the lives of the nearly 400,000 children and youths in the foster care system.