Westgate Resorts Helping Central Florida Foster Youths
Westgate Resorts and the Westgate Resorts Foundation continually work to give back to the community. And for many Central Florida foster teens, that community service can result in much needed employment.
Foster teens that turn 18 are no longer in state custody which, for many, means they have no place to live, no job, no driver’s license and no transportation. In fact, the unemployment rate for foster youth can range as high as 85 percent. The result is many of those teens end up homeless, on public assistance or even in jail.
Westgate, as well as other Central Florida businesses and non-profit agencies such as Panera Bread and Orlando Senior Health Network, are doing what they can to alleviate those statistics. They are teaming with foster care officials to develop much needed job internships and job mentoring programs. Now, Workforce Central Florida is approaching others to join in a new federally funded pilot project designed to cover training and three months of salaries and benefits for foster youths.
According to a recent article that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, about 170 kids “age out” of the foster care system in Central Florida’s Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties each year.
The goal is to help channel these teens in the right direction and assist them in becoming happy, productive, working citizens by helping them with job skills, learning how to dress for the workplace, improving communication skills and more. By providing a stable “first chance,” these youths can increase their marketability and move forward with their lives, without government assistance.
An emphasis is placed on teaching how to get their first job, then learning the skills that can help them work on their forever job.