Special Populations Collaborative

Foster Care Individuals

Santa Barbara City College – Job City USA

College Contact: Judy Osterhage, Foster Education Coordinator and Independent Living Program Director, 805-965-0581 or osterhag@sbcc.edu

Target Population: Economically Disadvantaged Foster Youth

Goals: Job City USA was created to provide hands-on fun experiences for the students, especially foster youth, to learn the soft-skills necessary for employment.

Description: The Job City USA curriculum is a series of experiences that teaches foster and disadvantaged youth to be successful in everyday events, from setting an alarm clock to tying a tie. The experiences are typically taught in a one-day format where students can participate in a series of activities by going from table to table. One they master the activity they usually receive a small price or get to keep what they created. Activities include:

Alarm clock – once they can set an alarm clock, they get the alarm clock

Sew on a button – They receive a sewing kit

Tie tying – receive a tie

Personal Color Analysis (winter, spring, etc.)

Makeovers – learn workforce appropriate make up for interviews and receive makeup

Mock interviews, – receive a tape of themselves and a critique from a professional

Interview clothes – donated from faculty and staff

The program often includes a field trip event that takes place on a different day. Field trips have been taken to:

Nordstrom’s – dress for success night, managers’ talk about getting applying for jobs, appropriate attire, etc.

Go to the Mall – where students are given the task of obtaining three applications and business cards from managers.

Some schools/groups have made the transportation for the field trip part of the lesson – getting bus information, etc. — while some have used a college or school bus. There have been, to date, three events with approximately 40 students at each event.

Staffing: Depends on group size. Most staff members at events are volunteers however; a minimum of one person per activity table or task is required.

Facilities, equipment, materials: A large room, with one table for each task to be taught. Depending on the activities materials must be gathered to handle the number of students participating.

Costs, funding source: The program began as a component for the independent living program – but it was soon evident that there were not enough hands-on experiences for the students. The initial grant was a small collaboration grant awarded via Mt. San Antonio Community College.

Outreach and marketing: The idea is marketed on campus to groups serving disadvantaged youth as well as at conferences and community meetings.

Evidence of effectiveness: Assessment is in the event – if they get the tie or the alarm clock they get the skills. There is no follow up in the job-place. However, staff reports that Santa Barbara is “one of top” in the state in terms of youth having jobs.