Pregnant and Parenting Teen Initiative

Best Practices

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A Resource Guide of Best Practices for Pregnant and Parenting Teen Programs

School-to-Work Programs

Essential Components
Best Practices



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.

Essential Components

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.

Educational Community

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

communication skills
assertiveness training
problem solving
time management
interpersonal skills
self-care and coping skills
conflict resolution
development of positive self-esteem
work ethic
behavior and attitude
socialization skills
organizational skills
stress management
management skills for working parents
awareness of resources

Vocational and Career Counseling

career and college planning
interest inventories
skills and abilities testing
attitudes toward gender roles
employability preparation (resume writing, cover letters, interview preparation, workplace issues, employer expectations)

Job Skills and Employment Training

At the elementary and middle school level, School-to-Work activities may include the following:

Guest Speakers.
  Business and community members provide ongoing exposure, encouragement and support
Field trips
  Trips to local businesses increase awareness and exposure to local business and industry and related jobs.
Student-run businesses
  Students operate school enterprises, such as the school store, and conduct sales campaigns, for products such as candy and flowers.
Career days and career development
Use of technology
  Students are exposed to and use current technology.
Near peer tutoring
  Older students are matched with younger students.
Service learning

Students collaborate with community partners to identify a need and implement a plan to satisfy that need.

At the high school level, School-to-Work preparation activities may include:

Monthly goal planning/transition planning
  Students work with staff to set objectives to meet established goals.
Job shadowing
  Students are assigned to a community, school or business and volunteer on a regular basis to learn about a job or field of study.
Peer tutoring
  Older students are matched with younger students to complete projects.
Mock interviews

Formal interviews are arranged with educational, business and community leaders to decrease student anxiety and introduce interview behaviors and expectations

Service learning

Students collaborate with community partners to identify a need and develop and implement a plan to satisfy that need.


Students are linked with job opportunities in the educational, business or social service community, but do not receive payment for service.


Students are linked with job opportunities in the educational, business or social service community and receive pay for service. Students are closely supervised by a worksite supervisor who provides feedback to the school-based co-op supervisor. A cooperative educational training plan is developed and implemented. Students may work several hours during the school day at the placement.

Youth apprenticeship programs

Classroom instruction is linked with work-based learning. Opportunities within a certain occupational area are established under the supervision of a skilled mentor, two or three days per week.

Tech Prep
  This includes an agreement with community colleges and other post-secondary institutions to facilitate the transition from high school course work to those post-secondary institutions' courses of study.
13th-year tracking

Students who have graduated from high school receive continued case management, home visits and transition planning for employment or post-secondary training.

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.


Employers are recruited for and involved in School-to-Work programs.
Employers are recruited to serve on Work Force Advisory Groups and School-to-Work committees.
Employers may be invited to classrooms or schools to promote career awareness. - Schools encourage field trips to businesses.
Employers are made aware of, recruited for and participate in shadowing opportunities.
Employers are made aware of the need for and recruited as workplace mentors for students.

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:

political leaders or their representatives
business and labor leaders
county employment and training staff
Job Center officers
representatives from post-secondary education and training institutions
school district administrators and board members
area vocational-technical school representatives
ad hoc community members

Job Skill and Employment Training

Job shadowing - Employers provide opportunities for students to shadow.
Mock interviews - Employers conduct formal interviews with students to decrease student anxiety and introduce interview behaviors and expectations.
Service learning - Employers provide service learning opportunities for students.
Internships - Employers provide internship opportunities for students.
Placement - Employers provide opportunities for students.
Youth apprenticeship programs -Employers provide work-based learning opportunities for students within a certain occupational area under the supervision of a skilled mentor, two or three days per week.


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:

County Office of Assistance: Department of Public Welfare Employment and Training initiatives (Single Point of Contact (SPOC), Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA), Job Opportunity and Basic Skills (JOBS), Prime Time, Feeder Programs, Transition Specialists, ELECT, Case Managers, Child Care)
County Department of Children, Youth and Families
Community College or Cooperative Extensions
Human Services/Family Services
Maternal Child Health Consortium
Chambers of Commerce
Family Centers

Community Service

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.

Child Care

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).

Best Practices

The following educational programs incorporate many of the practices described in this section.

Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit
  Design Your Destiny Program
Jeanette Lewis, Coordinator
(570) 523-1155 ext. 317
Chester County Intermediate Unit
  School-to-Work Initiative
Jeff Singleton, Coordinator
(610) 524-5106
Communities in Schools Philadelphia, Inc.
  School to Career Program
Bob Kingston, Coordinator
(215) 875-3171
School District of the City of Erie
  ELECT Program
Connie Sementilli, Coordinator
(814) 871-6581
School District of the City of Allentown
  Second Chance Program
Patricia Welle, Coordinator
(610) 821-2619
Pittsburgh Public Schools
  Applied Technology and Career Development Office of School Affairs
Pamela Wegman, Director
(412) 488-2500

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last updated April 26, 1999

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