Fifty high school students in foster care spent a week in Kerrville at a Summer Youth Leadership Training Program to help prepare them for independent living, thanks to a joint initiative of TEEX and Texas SkillsUSA-VICA.
The pilot program was funded by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services as a part of its Preparation for Adult Living (PAL), which helps youth make a smooth transition from foster care to independent living.
The PAL Summer Leadership Training Program combines a camp experience with a highly structured self-development, career awareness, leadership and computer literacy program, said Dr. Ed Cain, TEEX manager of educational initiatives. The program was conducted by Texas SkillsUSA-VICA teachers and advisors, with student leaders serving as peer mentors. Doug Washington of TEEX’s Career Advancement and Applied Technology staff provided the computer training for the participants.
The week-long program is based upon the successful SkillsUSA-VICA summer leadership training course and its nationally recognized Professional Development Program (PDP) curriculum, Cain said. The PDP is based on employment skills determined by business/industry to be critical to success on the job and in life as a whole, he added.
“This summer program for foster care youth is a brand new initiative, and I’m enthused about it,” Cain said. “This is a model that could be duplicated in other states.”