Baltimore, MD--The Maryland PROMISE initiative announced this past week they reached their recruitment goal of 2,000 enrolled youth in Maryland. Youth enrolled in Maryland PROMISE are participating in a federal study aimed at improving long term employment outcomes for young people who are currently at risk for continued dependence on public benefit programs. Approximately half of the enrolled youth receive enhanced services as part of the research study intervention group. Maryland PROMISE is the first of the six grantees to achieve their recruitment goal.
The PROMISE initiative is intended to demonstrate that early employment exposure, among other interventions, can improve later employability and outcomes for youth on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) post high school. These outcomes include graduating from high school ready for college and a career; completing post-secondary education and job training; and obtaining competitive employment. Support provided by dedicated Family Employment Specialists and Community Case Managers are two of the services received by youth and their families assigned to the intervention group. Through paid work-based experiences at local businesses, the youth are also given the opportunity to learn to be successful and contributing employees. To date, 318 youth representing every region in Maryland participated in summer employment experiences. Maryland PROMISE is looking for additional employers across the state in order to expand these offerings in the summer of 2016.
Both the families and youth also receive benefits counseling and financial education as part of the breadth of services provided. Currently, 652 family plans have been completed and 93 family members have directly received support services from PROMISE staff. As a result of this holistic approach, the youth experience an environment conducive to success and a greater potential to gain skills necessary for competitive employment.
Pamela Corkran employed two PROMISE participants at her consignment shop, Too Good To Be Thru, in Baltimore last summer and noted she learned as much as the youth. Ms. Corkran indicated that while her teenage employees required guidance, they caught on quickly, were eager to learn, and brought a great deal of creativity to their positions at the store. She is hopeful the skills learned last summer will benefit them as they join the adult workforce.
"The Maryland PROMISE team had a vision for the initiative which relied on the Recruiters, Case Managers, and Family Employment Specialists having first-hand knowledge of the areas they serve--including the youth who live there and the businesses who are successful in those regions." says Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty. "It is an immense credit to this team that they were able to achieve such lofty goals given them by the research project while still providing personal and attentive supports to the participants. We look forward to the outcomes of the study and the bright futures of the youth who utilize these services."
Maryland PROMISE is currently recruiting employers willing to provide summer workplace learning experiences to enrolled youth. The youth receive ongoing support from their Family Employment Specialists so they enter the experience ready to learn. If you are an employer interested in participating in the Maryland PROMISE initiative, please contact the Maryland Department of Disabilities at 410.767.3660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Maryland PROMISE can be found at www.mdpromise.org.