Working Towards Independence

youth in workforce development program | Covenant House

“Can you help me get a job?”

Once our young people are stable and safe at Covenant House, this is one of the questions we hear most often.

It’s not surprising. Our young people are smart, and hard-working, and crave the opportunity to be independent.

But our young people face many challenges. Recent statistics from our New York program show that upon their intake to Covenant House, 79% of our young people were unemployed, and 50% had no high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.

Our goal with every young person is to meet them where they are in their individual journeys and provide support and opportunity. One way we do this is through our robust workforce development programs.

Workforce development includes a two-week job readiness program in which we assist our young people in the job search and job placement process, and at the same time offer life skills programs that address a variety of practical topics, including financial literacy and budgeting, securing personal documentation, and scheduling medical appointments.

"Workforce development is more than just helping young people get a job,” said Lyndell Pittman, vice president of education, employment, and benefits support services at Covenant House New York. “We help young people realize their potential for being a successful contributing partner in our community, build confidence to strive beyond their challenges and find a path to long-term self sufficiency.” 

Workforce development programs help to open doors of opportunity for young people like Joshua. A few days after he came to Covenant House, Joshua signed up for our job readiness class and earned his certificate two weeks later. Our team then worked with Joshua to prepare him for a job interview at a security company. He came back with the great news he had landed the job!

But Joshua didn’t stop there. He worked and studied and took the fire guard training program we offer to expand his knowledge and build up his increasingly impressive resume. And at the same time, Joshua also took interest in the IT program classes we offer at Covenant House. “I want to build on my knowledge of security and also learn how to do coding for websites,” he told us.

Joshua chose the UX Design certification to pursue, because it was most aligned with his knowledge of website building. It’s a six-month training, but of course, Joshua finished two weeks early! He was the first of our IT students to receive his certificate.

Toward the end of his IT program, Joshua was inspired to attend college to study cybersecurity. Our team assisted Joshua in his application to college and applying for financial aid. Joshua entered college in September of 2022, and has successfully completed his first year.

Advancing educationally and preparing for the world of work are key to a young person’s prospects for leaving homelessness behind. Either directly or through referral, we guide inspiring young people like Joshua to appropriate educational and vocational opportunities, matching each young person’s strengths and abilities with their career interests. We help them hone the skills they need to join the workforce, become independent, and turn their back on homelessness.

It is our privilege to work with young people like Joshua, who work so hard in pursuit of their dreams.

Shelter Is Only the Beginning

From crisis to care: Find out what it's like when a young person enters our doors.