One of the big challenges faced by YouthBuild employment and training programs, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), is how to identify and address alcohol and drug use among students. ETA recognizes that substance use is one of the many barriers to employment experienced by youth in the YouthBuild program and is a major barrier for gaining and retaining employment for both youth and adults. Through a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the use of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model (SBIRT), YouthBuild programs were able to address this barrier and fill the knowledge gap within programs about substance use and its impact on achieving personal goals (e.g. achieving their high school diploma or equivalent and employment outcomes).
The collaborative efforts between SAMHSA and ETA was intended to
- provide education and resources to staff at 15 YouthBuild programs to adequately screen and assess substance use;
- provide opportunities for program staff to learn about strategies and interventions they can utilize within the program;
- develop community-based resources for treatment and referral for youth identified as having a substance abuse problem and;
- guide programs to develop an evidence-based screening and brief treatment model to be implemented appropriately within their YouthBuild program