iFoster, an organization dedicated to helping young adults aging out of the foster care system transition into self-sufficiency, is celebrating a big win for its Jobs Program.
When they founded Truckee, California-based iFoster, Serita and Reid Cox, CEO and CFO, respectively, put their experience in the technology industry to work in order to help families navigate the challenges of foster care. Their online portal connects foster children and families with highly needed financial, educational and social support resources. iFoster says its mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful, independent adults.
Among those resources is the organization’s Jobs Program, a public/private partnership that matches employer partners with entry-level positions to foster youth who are specifically trained, appropriately resourced and effectively supported to succeed in their jobs. iFoster developed the program in conjunction with Raley’s after members of the grocery industry, including Domino Sugar and supply chain company FHI, reached out to it with the idea.
iFoster and its training partners assist foster youth by providing job skills training, necessary concrete resources, job coaching, scholarships/tuition reimbursement opportunities and first-in-line access to jobs with career advancement potential. iFoster helps employers by providing a pipeline of pre-qualified potential hires that helps reduce the cost and time associated with hiring and employee turnover.
Jobs Program, other resources expanding
The Jobs Program has been a success, now boasting 25 employer partners and approximately 500 employed youth. This year, it is expanding into more California counties as well as New York and Nevada, said Reid in an email.
“We’ve been working hard trying to get the model recognized and integrated into the child welfare system so we can achieve ultimate system-level change (i.e. adopted by the foster care system as a best practice),” he added.
Serita has been working with Los Angeles County on a partnership to integrate government services into iFoster’s portal, allowing foster youth and their families to access resources from various governmental departments all in one place.
“And better yet, they will staff former foster youth—iFoster Ambassadors—in each of the departments to make sure the needs of foster youth are always at the table,” said Reid.
iFoster also has been awarded two grants from AmeriCorps and CaliforniaVolunteers—one for Los Angeles and one for the Bay Area—that will allow the organization to train and deploy 100 foster youth in each market each year on service opportunities.
“So thank you all for all of your critical work in getting the Jobs Program off the ground and paving the way for new opportunities like this,” Reid told grocery industry members.