UPDATE: County hosts career day for foster youth

Supervisor Kathryn Barger stands beside Jasmine Ferrusquilla, a San Pedro resident who hopes to pursue a career in trade, logistics and international relationships, on Foster Youth Shadow Day on Aug. 14, 2017. Courtesy of Kathryn Barger's office.

Los Angeles County officials hosted a group of future public servants for the Department of Child and Family Service’s Foster Youth Shadow Day on Monday.

Gathering about 50 foster youth, Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger shared her own career journey with the group before they dispersed into separate offices to meet with agency directors and department heads.

“(I am) so inspired by the young people I met today as we hosted Foster Youth Shadow Day,” Barger wrote on Facebook. “It was a good opportunity to share my own experience starting as a student intern in the office of Supervisor Antonovich. The County of Los Angeles​ is a great place to work and I encourage young people to pursue a career in public service.”

The youth were able to shadow county employees in any field they desired, learning more about the day-to-day of their future career.

“This job shadowing experience (helps) expose youth to county governance and (exemplifies) our mission to enrich the lives of its residents, especially those most vulnerable, through effective and caring service,” a motion by Barger and Supervisor Hilda Solis said.

San Pedro resident Jasmine Ferrusquilla, who plans attend California State University Maritime Academy and pursue a career in trade, logistics and international relationships, shadowed Supervisor Barger and attended all her meetings with her throughout the day.

“Supervisor Barger really enjoyed her time with Jasmine and I think the feeling was mutual,” Barger’s Communication Deputy Tony Bell said.

Including one from the Santa Clarita Valley and several from the Antelope Valley, Barger’s office was able to host multiple foster youth and allow them to interact with staff.

“These are opportunities for future career development and advancement,” Bell said.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger stands with Symphoni Morris, Alexis Obinna and Patrick Gwin on Foster Youth Shadow Day. Courtesy of Kathryn Barger’s office.

The shadow day was a response studies and county conversations that showed foster youth tend to have difficulty achieving educational and career goals, according to a motion by Supervisor Barger and Solis.

“In response, the Board of Supervisors has long identified the development of career opportunities for transition-age youth exiting the county foster care system as a critical issue,” the motion read.

Furthering the effort to aid foster youth in attaining successful careers, the county has a career development internship program in every county department. Also, there is training and outreach for cities, school districts and other agencies to create individualized foster youth internships.

There are additional job opportunities for foster youth through the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, as well as subsidized employment, the motion cites

Through the Department of Child and Family Services, the 18-month Philip L. Browning Youth Worker Program gives youth between 16 and 20 hands-on skill development to prepare them for the work force.

The program provides participants with knowledge about employment preparation, work environments, office procedures, public speaking, life skills, goal setting, budgeting and money management, self-care, cultural experiences and volunteerism, according to the DCFS.

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