A Resource Guide of Best Practices for Pregnant and Parenting Teen Programs
There has been growing concern that the United States is failing to prepare adolescents to enter the work force in an era when increasing technical competencies are needed for employment success following high school. Teen parents are dropping out of school at an alarming rate, becoming part of the welfare system and perpetuating generational poverty. Even if they graduate from high school, many teens are attaining low paying, unskilled, "disconnected" jobs that do not adequately lead to self-sufficiency and financial independence for themselves and their children.
Preparing teens especially teen parents for the workplace of the future requires new kinds ofpartnerships among schools, business and industry, and communities. School-to-Work programs can eliminate barriers between the classroom and career place.Providing the necessary skills and experiences to prepare students to obtain and maintain adequate employment enhcances their ability to see themselves as responsible, contributing members of society.
School-to-Work programs also help pregnant and parenting teens gain a greater awareness of opportunities to further their post-secondary education and training, Three essential components for a successful School-to-Work program are the educational community, business and industry, and community resources.
A complete, comprehensive career planning process from kindergarten through twelfth grade should be integrated into the educational curriculum. This not only promotes an awareness of career interests and required competencies, but also offers a systematic approach to career exploration.
Comprehensive Life Skills, Education and Employability Skills
Vocational and Career Counseling
Job Skills and Employment Training
At the elementary and middle school level, School-to-Work activities may include the following:
At the high school level, School-to-Work preparation activities may include:
Business and Industry
Collaborations among schools, businesses and secondary institutions are essential for School-to-Work success. The business community must be involved in the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of any School-to-Work initiative.
Work Force Advisory Group
This group focuses on overall policies, objectives and goals for work force training to promote the School-to-Work initiative, and should meet on an ongoing basis. Membership may include the following people:
Job Skill and Employment Training
Interagency collaborations within the educational, social service, medical and business communities are essential for the School-to-Work initiative to succeed. So often students are linked to a variety of community support services by nature of the fact that they have so many needs as teen parents. Agencies must be coordinated to provide information and referrals about all community resources that would aid students in achieving their goals of employment or post-secondary training.
Interagency Council Collaboration
Meetings are held to provide a single point of contact to assure consistency for a continuum of services to meet existing needs for pregnant and parenting teens. A menu of services and activities is compiled and distributed. Meetings provide a vehicle for job opportunities and community service needs to be announced. Mentors are recruited from and job shadowing opportunities identified in member agencies. Members may include representatives from the following agencies or organizations:
Community agencies may provide students opportunities for community service or service learning. Students have an opportunity to partner with a community agency to identify a community need, develop a plan to meet that need and implement the plan. The participation of agencies on both the Work Force Advisory Committee and the Interagency Council facilitates placement of and opportunities for students.
Marketing and Promotion
In-service and pre-service are available for staff of community agencies, employers and school personnel to sensitize them, and make them aware of issues surrounding pregnant and parenting teens and their School-to-Work transitions. Brochures, handbooks, guidelines, agreements and best practices are identified, developed and distributed to educational, social service and medical agencies, and businesses. Public service announcements, local radio and TV spots, and newspaper articles feature successful partnerships.
The crucial need to complete their education and achieve self-sufficiency may be complicated by teen parents' inability to access subsidized child care. Many cannot consider these programs due to lack of affordable child care or suitable caretakers for their children. School-to-Work partners should address child care needs (whether child care is provided as a collaboration between schools and the community, or with subsidies provided by community agencies, the state or local government, business and industry).
This page is maintained by the Center for Schools and Communities.
last updated April 26, 1999
Center for Schools & Communities