Team Efforts Get DYS Youth "Future Ready"
Technical Skills Training Programs Provide Career Skills, Money & More
Greetings, and t hank you for your commitment and investment in the youth whom we serve. 

In two of my visits to the Western Regional Office in 2017, I experienced first-hand the incredible work product from the culinary program. The young men in the CHD secure residential program prepared, cooked and served a restaurant level meal. The atmosphere and the quality of the food was first class.

One of our primary challenges in the agency is to engage youth in constructive activities that will transfer into the community. The culinary program is a strong example of how this works: Technical skills training is a practical application of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and the topic of this newsletter.
Commissioner Peter Forbes

In programs like ExclusiveTees in the Western and Southeastern Regions, Horticulture at the Zara Cisco Brough Center, and many others, DYS youth are learning skills that position them for success long after they leave our care.

Many of the youth with whom we work are pursuing an academic track toward their high school diploma/HiSet and advancing to post-secondary placement. For these youth, their exposure to technical skills training complements their educational experience.  For others, technical skills training is their primary focus.

We're fortunate to have a strong partnership with Commonwealth Corporation and the Collaborative for Educational Services. Staff from those agencies has brought innovation and energy to the DYS service continuum. I look forward to our shared work in 2018 and to checking in with you in the field.


P.S. I welcome your comments, suggestions and input: Please email me any time!
In This Issue:
Mark Your Calendars:

- April 11: Statehouse Arts Rally
- May 15 : Youth Arts Showcase
- June 4: Western Region Graduation Ceremony
- June 14: Northeast Region Graduation Ceremony 
- June 18: Southeast Region "Excellence in Education" Day
- June 20: Central Region Graduation Ceremony
Quick links: 


DYS Homepage


DYS on Twitter


DYS on Instagram 

DYS Technical Skills Training Programs:
Positioning Youth in Our Care for Successful Futures
Quick Read:

Reflecting the goals of DYS' Strategic Plan, the department's technical skills training (aka "vocational") programs help youth in our care learn marketable and transferable skills. Different programs operate in all DYS regions and through the Bridging The Opportunity Gap (BOG) program, are implemented in partnership with Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp) and the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES).

DYS' Future Readeducation and career development is a dynamic learning process between students, educators, and other caring adults by which DYS youth are helped to assess their strengths and aspirations, plan for and demonstrate progress toward their own purposes, and work with others to accomplish challenging tasks.
More Than "Just" Silk Screening: 
Exclusive Tees Programs Teach Life Skills
Exclusive Tees programs in Springfield and Taunton expose DYS youth to real-world work environments in which they develop business and communications skills, work collaboratively and earn money.

Operated under the contract with CommCorp and supervised by Program Manager Celia Overby, six youth work at each of the two Exclusive Tees shops.
Youth selected to participate have demonstrated a commitment to engage in clinical and educational programming. On-site program mentors are Carlos Marrero in Springfield and Don Wilkinson in Taunton.

Marrero and Wilkinson guide and train youth workers in every step of the silk screening process: Youth use mesh screen to transfer ink onto a substrate (except in areas impermeable to ink) by blocking stencil. Like an art canvas, mesh is stretched tightly over frame. After setting up the substrate and the blocking stencil, youth teams mass produce unique tee shirts and tote bags.

With seniority, the youth rotate through each stage in the production process, adding skills and responsibilities. At each stage, they recognize and encourage the talents in others and demonstrate to staff hidden qualities. Working with fellow residents to achieve quantifiable results, the participating youth see the payoff of hard work.

In addition to fulfilling custom orders to be sold on the open market, youth can create custom designs. One resident shared, "I'm learning and doing something I love, and the best part is I'm getting paid." This learning includes essential life skills: Another resident shared how the program helps workers pick up "adulting" skills like writing a check or interviewing.

"When I walk in to the production shop, I feel human and more free. 
I am more free."

As Overby explains, "Exclusive Tees silk screening programs help DYS youth gain resources to support themselves. Applying DYS' strength-based approach to working with youth, programs like Exclusive Tees magnify their strengths so our youth have the skills they need both to survive and thrive in their future endeavors. "

In Exclusive Tees and other youth employment programs, DYS staff and partners encourage, empower and support our youth in their efforts to form meaningful, productive personal and professional lives.
About Exclusive Tees : A social enterprise run by Commonwealth Corporation, Exclusive Tees employs youth in Springfield and Taunton. After opening in Springfield in 2013, high demand spurred opening a second shop in Taunton in 2017. See Exclusive Tees' 2017 Annual Report.
Culinary & Career Competencies at Sandobo's Kitchen
A three-tiered culinary training program for DYS youth in the Western Region's Springfield site, Sandobo's Kitchen teaches youth technical and basic job skills in a professional culinary environment.
After earning their ServSafe Manager Certification and being introduced to hands-on culinary experiences, youth are employed to work in the back of the house at a professional kitchen, as well as preparing for and running banquets.
Horticulture at DYS' Zara Cisco Brough Center

Horticulture at Central Region Pelletier Assessment/Secure Treatment
Watch this video  in which Program Director Cindy Carvill explains the magic. The cornerstone of Central Region's horticulture program, Cindy built the program from the ground up. 

An example of Cindy's work and caring is the Meditation/Rememberance Garden project she coordinated to honor Pelletier's cook Minnie. The Garden is in front of the Zara Cisco Brough building in Westborough. 
Discover other "Future Ready" technical skills training programs  in ALL five DYS regions!
  • In DYS residences: Youth explore college and career opportunities and participate in vocationally oriented hands-on learning activities to apply and practice the future ready skills they learn in their classes (including communication and collaboration, initiative and self-direction, productivity and accountability, and more).
  • In the community: Youth are provided workforce development and employment services through the Bridging The Opportunity Gap (BOG) program. BOG is a 'tiered' program model in which youth move to advanced levels of the program as they gain work readiness competencies and meet specific performance benchmarks. In each tier, youth experience a mix of career development activities (including classroom training) and field experiences in which they can gain exposure to various professions, test and apply new skills, and demonstrate a readiness to progress.

Mark Your Calendars
DYS' Youth Arts Showcase: Tuesday, May 15

DYS Data Matters:
Youth Enrolled in Subsidized Employment

DYS' Bridging the Opportunity Gap (BOG) program includes an employment training component that features on the job training and subsidized employment opportunities. 

This chart shows (in orange) the percentage of youth who were enrolled in subsidized employment during each fiscal year represented and (in blue) the percentage of those youth who completed at least 48 hours of subsidized work experience. (BOG training threshold included a minimum of 48 hours of subsidized employment training to support their workforce development.)

A new model implemented in FY18 allows youth to enter the program and take as many hours as they need to complete the milestones, benchmarks and outcomes of the BOG programming, moving DYS to a more competency-based model.

Throughout March on DYS' intranet ("Pulse") and social media, we highlighted prominent women from Massachusetts and beyond. Among the profiles:

- Former DYS Commissioner Jane E. Tewksbury
- Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Juvenile Court, Judge Amy Nechtem
- Chief of the Nipmuc People, Zara Cisco Brough