Boone County high school students and recent graduates facing barriers to employment have the opportunity to intern this summer with Veterans United through a partnership of Fostering Life – Changing Opportunityknown as Flourish, and the Boone County Board of Children’s Services.
This partnership will also lead to the creation of a YouthMOVE chapter help engage young people in community decision-making, a goal of the Voices for Collective Impact: Youth Violence Prevention process started in 2019.
Two paid internship programs are available.
the Preparation I internship is more for those who will be seniors from the fall, while the Preparatory course II is for those graduating this year or completing their high school equivalency in December or later, said Rae Cooper, treasurer of the Flourish board and head of Veterans United’s social impact program. .
The Prep I summer internships are in their third year, while this is the first year for the Prep II internships. There are typically 15 participants in the Prep I cohort, while Cooper hopes 30 will apply for the Prep II cohort.
The partnership and financial support of approximately $47,000 from Boone County made the program open to all high schools in Boone County. It was previously limited to Columbia Public Schools. Cooper expects at least five participants from high schools outside of Columbia.
Flourish is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and was created by employees of Veterans United. Flourish is not under the Veterans United umbrella, but its operations are financially supported by the Veterans United Foundation, as well as Boone County.
What are the internships?
The two available internships aim to provide opportunities for students who face a variety of employment barriers, which “may include being a student of color, being a youth in foster care, or living in a low-income household. income (among others)”. said Cooper.
Applications are open for summer internships. Students are referred to the program by high school counselors or other nonprofit organizations.
The Prep I and Prep II cohorts take place at Veterans United offices.
“The actual work environment and work among our full-time employees and being part of our work culture is important in supporting positive results and impact,” Cooper wrote in a follow-up post Thursday.
Participants in Prep I are considered part-time employees, with access to employee supports, technology and more, except they do not perform a business function in relation to Prep II, she said. added. Prep I trainees are still learning, Cooper said.
Those applying for the Prep I internship must be 17 or older by April 15. Participants are exposed to the work culture at Veterans United and are paid $12 per hour. Students are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship when they complete the program.
There is an expected commitment of 18 hours per week during the internship period from June 15 to August 15. Students will work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during normal business hours.
Participants should have a constant presence to attend trainings and group discussions and to help with tasks related to a service project.
“The program is a work-based learning model, which means their job is to learn while they earn,” Cooper said.
The skills acquired during the professional development and community collaboration activities are applied to the service-learning project that will help participants obtain and maintain employment, she added.
Professional development activities can include resume writing, stress management, interview skills and compassionate communication, Cooper said.
There is a greater commitment expected for those taking the Prep II internship program.
Recent graduates will have regular 40-hour work weeks from June 1 to August 14, with professional development training on Thursdays. Participants are paid $13 an hour and will work in the department after Veterans United closes, Cooper said.
“Prep II focuses on gaining real-world work experience,” she said.
Students are also eligible for the $2,500 scholarship when they complete the internship.
Interns will provide general administrative assistance and support, while learning and mastering assigned shipping tasks for the department and assisting team members with tasks related to finalized documents.
It is preferred that students have consistent typing skills (between 25 and 35 words per minute or more), be comfortable with technology, have time management skills, be able to clearly communicate problems or questions and have reliable transportation.
“Interns (in both programs) leave with more confidence in their ability to gain gainful employment and perform well in their jobs,” Cooper said. “They leave with a neat application file and an interview outfit.”
The Purpose of the Flourish Partnership, Boone County
The Boone County Board of Children’s Services wanted to find ways to provide opportunities for local young people to reduce youth violence, which saw an increase in 2019, the county’s Community Services Department said. of Boone in a press release.
The main themes of these focus group sessions included education systems, mental health, violence, identity-based experiences, community-level issues, and suggested concrete solutions.
Young people wanted more voice in decision-making and also wanted “positive activities…to make a name for themselves,” the study results said.
A paid internship by Veterans United could be considered a “positive alternative for young people to build self-esteem, and a sense of importance could help reduce violence in the community”, based on the results of the study.
“We were really impressed that Flourish was going to help pay for some (of the internship opportunities), so we matched the funds,” said Joanne Nelson, director of the Boone County Community Services Department. “…Youth participation is really important in solving the problems that young people face.”
The internship isn’t the only program Flourish offers Boone County youth, Cooper said.
“Flourish programs surround young people to improve their overall well-being, improve access to post-secondary opportunities, and ultimately increase their chances of upward mobility,” Cooper said.
Other programs include:
- housing for homeless youth;
- case management;
- $aves, a collaboration with SEED Successfor higher education savings;
- emergency assistance and basic needs; and
- scholarship programs
These programs are in the early stages of their implementation – between their first and third year – Cooper said, adding that Flourish has already seen their positive impacts, including students graduating from high school and making connections to higher education or employment.
The YouthMOVE chapter
Since YouthMOVE is youth-led, Flourish interns will be responsible for applying to establish the Columbia/Boone County chapter.
The chapter’s formation was “one of the strategies of the June 2021 Voices for Collective Impact: Youth Violence Conference,” Nelson wrote in a follow-up email to the Tribune. A portion of the approximately $47,000 in funds Flourish received from the county will help establish the chapter, she wrote.
The mission of YouthMOVE, founded in 2007, is to “connect, support and develop youth leadership in advocacy to create positive change”, according to the national organization’s website. It also seeks to elevate the lived experiences of youth voices.
The chapter and its participants will continue to develop an action plan to address youth violence in Boone County, Community Services said in a news release.
“I’ve seen the effect of abuse on our young people and their families,” said Leigh Spence, Columbia High Schools Board Principal and Board Member of Children’s Services, of the partnership between Flourish and Boone County. “Often, adults plan for students, not with them.
“Importantly, Flourish is responding to what our young people have asked for, including having an ongoing opportunity to share their opinions.”
Those involved in YouthMOVE will create action plans and present updates on progress, working with the Flourish Board and other community stakeholders to engage in personal advocacy, a said Cooper.