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DYRS Youth Graduate With Trade Certificates in Automotive, Information Technology and Culinary Field

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Program designed to support Principles of Positive Youth Justice, reduce likelihood of delinquency.

Washington, DC– The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), the District of Columbia’s cabinet-level juvenile justice agency, along with  three of DC YouthLink’s community-based programs (Amala Lives, Southwest Community Development Corporation, and Tech Nation) will award over 40 DYRS youth with industry and/or nationally recognized  certificates in food handling; Microsoft Office specialist; peer educator and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator); automotive brakes/suspension; flagger; CDL (commercial driving license) and heavy equipment operation on Tuesday, May 15 at 11 am at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW and on Wednesday, May 16 at 1 pm at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street, NW.

DC YouthLink is a coalition of community-based organizations that provide a network of resources, services, supports and opportunities in community-based settings for DYRS youth and their families. The youth’s participation is part of their Individual Development Plans designed to support and sustain successful community reintegration.

DYRS youth were required to attend employment readiness training (interview techniques, resume writing and workplace etiquette) and then were provided an opportunity to choose a certification program based on their career goals and interest. Youth also earned an hourly wage of $8.25 while completing eight-week trainings. Funding for these opportunities was made possible through a US Department of Labor’s Young Offenders State/Local Implementation Grant. Upon graduation, the youth will receive support from assigned Workforce Development Specialists to secure permanent employment or gain entry into a long-term vocational or occupational trade school.

“DYRS provides youth with many opportunities to get on the right track and contribute to the community,” said Neil Stanley, DYRS Director. “The workforce development program falls squarely in line with our Positive Youth Justice framework, which is the backbone of our work.”

Positive Youth Justice is grounded in the philosophy of Positive Youth Development, and focuses on the specific developmental needs of young people involved in the juvenile justice system. This evidence-based approach asserts that youth are assets and resources to the community, and that with the right programs, opportunities, supports, and services, youth can develop to their full potential. DYRS uses six core developmental domains in its framework: work, education, health and relationships, community and creativity.

A recent national survey, conducted by GBA Strategies shows that 89 percent of Americans favor increasing the use of mandatory rehabilitation, education, drug treatment, and job counseling for youth who commit crimes.

“By providing youth opportunities to compete in this job market, we are giving them a chance to become productive members of the community,  while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of delinquency,” said Stanley. “This is not only sound judgment but it’s a win for all parties involved.”