Right Turn's strength-based approach and career-focused design helps court-involved youth transform their lives. Right Turn participants reenroll in school, graduate from school, earn industry-recognized credentials, get jobs, and avoid reentering the system. The article below describes in detail how the initial Right Turn sites met and exceeded all federal performance measures. The impact of Right Turn goes far beyond performance measures. In communities across the country Right Turn sites have also seen the following:
|PERFORMANCE MEASURE||PERFORMANCE GOAL||PERFORMANCE OUTCOME|
|Diplomacy/State H.S. Equivalency||50%||78%|
|Recidivism||20% or less||11%|
At each site, staff work closely with youth participants to develop an Individualized Career Development Plan (ICDP) that covers the three domains of the IEL career development model: self-assessment, career exploration, and career planning and management. This process is meant to first engage participants in identifying their needs, strengths, and interests before choosing the job opportunity that best suits them. Right Turn then supports them in working toward the skills, industry-recognized credentials, and employment experiences that they need to succeed.
“Right now I’m at Lansing Community College working on my nursing degree,” said Eunice, a participant at Peckham. “Right Turn has helped me buy my books, finish paying for my classes, and get my classwork done. My goal is to get in to Georgetown’s midwifery program; that’s how I want to help people in my career.”
As a whole, the five sites met, and in most cases exceeded, program benchmarks and performance measures. With a goal of serving 1000 youth, with at least 90% of those being court-involved), the sites enrolled 1,015 youth ages 14 to 24, with 956 (94%) involved with the juvenile justice system. The holistic nature of Right Turn has yielded an array of powerful outcomes. 74% of out-of-school participants ages 18 and above were placed in jobs, postsecondary education, or occupational training, exceeding the grant's 60% target.
Sites used a number of approaches to support youth in their transition to work. In addition to helping youth develop resumes and prepare for interviews, sites used resources in their local communities. Oasis Center in Nashville enrolled participants in a jobs readiness program held at Tennessee State University. In Lansing, Right Turn connected a participant interested in carpentry to the Grand Rapids Job Corps, which allowed her to complete her high school credits at the same time as taking courses related to her career track. In all, 64% of youth ages 18 and above received an industry-recognized credential, exceeding the 60% target.
Right Turn also supports continued education, particularly for participants ages 17 and under. Case managers work with participants to determine educational needs and highlight how completion of a high school credential can help them achieve their career goals. During the grant period, 79% of youth ages 17& under returned to school and 68% of participants ages 17 & under remained in school for 12 months or more. Both measures exceeded the 60% target. 78% percent of youth 17& under received a high school diploma or GED, exceeding the program's 50% target for this measure.
To assist youth in their academic pursuits, sites offer tutoring and other educational supports. Case managers often help participants with school enrollment and track of youth attendance. Goodwill Industries in Houston developed a program to help Right Turn participants prepare specifically for the Texas state assessments that are required for them to advance to the next grade level. In L.A., one Right Turn youth had such a successful school experience that he was asked to speak at his high school graduation.
One of the clear, tangible outcomes of Right Turn is that the youth are able to build relationships with caring adults in safe spaces. “The youth I work with are not bad kids, they are products of the environment they came up in…They’re looking for a way out, they just don’t know how to get out, and it’s my role to show them the path,” said James, a PVJOBS mentor. 96% of program participants received group, peer, or one-to-one mentoring. Mentor relationships served to keep youth engaged with their goals, constructively solve problems, and address transitional issues like family conflicts. Program staff also assist with access to substance abuse treatment, mental health services, social services counselors, housing assistance, child care, and transportation.
In 2015, IEL was awarded another grant to expand Right Turn to four additional sites. This second round of Right Turn sites, running through 2018, are using lessons learned from the first five sites.