Everyone deserves a second chance. But a lack of work skills and education presents a very real barrier to young Oakland parolees looking for a new start in life. Reforming these young offenders is one of the top priorities of the Youth Employment Partnership (YEP) , an Oakland, California private non-profit agency. The YEP Career Try-Out program provides students with valuable job readiness training, leadership development, violence prevention, re-entry readiness, substance abuse treatment, tutoring and GED instruction.
Students get to try out a career field- like construction, parks and rec, human services, or office work. They’re also required to attend one hour of educational instruction for each hour they work. Since 1973, the GED lab at YEP has served over 20,000 teens and young adults ages 14-24, and currently works with approximately 50 students per day, averaging 25 per class.
We’re now able to focus our efforts right where each student needs it.
Leighton AhPo, GED Instructor/Coordinator
“We needed better and faster diagnostics to help us guide our students,” Leighton AhPo, GED Instructor/Coordinator for Youth Employment Partnership states.
Many YEP students have not completed high school and have few workplace skills that translate to stable, high-demand jobs. With so many students to advise, YEP needed a way to assess students’ skill levels and determine their instructional needs.
After reviewing their options, YEP chose to add Wonderlic to their admissions process. Incoming students are now given the Wonderlic General Assessment of Instructional Needs (or GAIN), a basic skills test that evaluates their English and math levels. GAIN also provides detailed diagnostics to aid the teacher with creating an individual learning plan.
The assessment report aligns to the YEP curriculum series, allowing teachers to target their instruction with laser precision. Not only are they able to make accurate placements – individual guidance strategies that used to take weeks of planning now take just a few days, too.
“We’re now able to focus our efforts right where each student needs it,” AhPo says. “No more trying to interpret lengthy, confusing reports. It’s really a time-saver for both the teachers and the students.”
GAIN allows YEP to get down to business: “We’re able to get our students going immediately in specific areas,” AhPo explains. “It affords us the opportunity to move test-ready clients through more quickly, and spend more time with those who need more help and interaction.”
In addition to a more efficient process, they’re enjoying greater program success. The unique GAIN report guides teachers into placing students into the right classroom or individual tutoring programs, and motivates students into higher engagement.
“They see their educational levels, and they’re proud of their accomplishments. They take their report home to show their family.”
In fact, after only six months of using GAIN, YEP is beginning to see their program completion and GED pass rates improve.