About the Collaboration
Los Angeles’ YouthSource Centers are operated by EWDD/WIB and funded through the Federal Workforce Investment Act and a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund. Sixteen YouthSource Centers are located throughout Los Angeles, each in an area identified as having a large out-of-school/out-of-work population. EWDD/WIB operates 2 Centers directly and contracts out the operation of the other 14 Centers to nonprofit groups. The YouthSource Centers provide resources and assistance to help youth advance toward high school graduation and realize their postsecondary or employment-related aspirations.
Prior to the LAUSD-EWDD/WIB collaboration, the YouthSource Centers provided services to youth who were seeking employment or had dropped out of high school. However, the Centers had limited capacity to provide outreach and identify the youth who could benefit from the supportive services being offered. In contrast, LAUSD had the capacity to identify youth for services and was serving the highest risk youth in the school district, including those who had dropped out of school, but did not operate the scale of relevant services provided by the YouthSource Centers.
LAUSD had a list of about 20,000 students who had dropped out of school or were at risk for dropping out. Although the YouthSource Centers were in a position to benefit from this list as a basis for initiating targeted outreach efforts, strict laws prohibited the sharing of students’ educational information and records with other agencies and systems. The two systems needed to find a way to work together and reengage students and refer them to YouthSource Centers where they would find many relevant services. In 2009, EWDD/WIB and LAUSD identified a comprehensive strategy for working together to conduct targeted outreach and to improve outcomes for youth who are out-of-school/out-of-work. Their collaborative efforts include conducting community-based outreach to identify the youth; co-locating LAUSD Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) counselors at the YouthSource Centers; and implementing a youth-centered approach to assessment and making appropriate referrals. These activities both satisfy and surpass the expectations of funders and other key stakeholders, representing a proactive commitment to doing whatever it takes to achieve positive youth outcomes.