Skills, Training, and Employment Access for the Development of Youth (STEADY) Work Program
STEADY Work started as a pilot program in 2013 with one participant and a single donor at the Cracker Box Palace animal rescue shelter at historic Alasa Farms in Alton, NY. The farm served as a thriving and therapeutic environment for youth in Wayne County to learn about agricultural careers, as well as jobs in forestry, education, nutrition, health, and first aid. As the program grew, the number of participants grew; from 2013 - 2020, over 30 young people were provided opportunities to imagine a better future for themselves.
During this time, the youth involved with the program at Alasa Farms developed soft skills for maintaining a job as a responsible employee and showing compassion and care for the animals at the shelter. Over 90% of program participants met with success as measured by their ability to obtain employment independently and maintain it for one year or longer. Support for the program came from Wayne County Action Program, Scarlet Thread Ministries, Literacy Volunteers of Wayne County, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, 21st CCLC grant programs, and the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
In 2020, Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds were awarded to Sodus Central School District and partners Wayne County Action Program and Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes to expand on the success of STEADY Work. The program's design called for a high level of cooperation with schools through the Community Schools strategy.
During the pandemic, funding support from WIOA, area schools, area businesses, and leveraged Medicaid dollars allowed for exponential program growth - expanding the STEADY Work participant number to over 90 young people. This is in addition to the significant number of young people served by Finger Lakes Works, operated by the Department of Social Services.
The program continues to provide youth with the soft skills necessary for entering the workforce and the opportunity to experience employment in a low-stress setting.
OUR PROGRAM STRUCTURE
A person-centered planning process
The STEADY Work Program is built on a person-centered planning process. Through this process, participants can identify their unique strengths, vocational interests, and personal and professional goals. Youth initially begin the program with employment in a structured, program-based work environment where their skills can be evaluated, and relationships with co-workers and staff can be developed. As participants develop skills, more opportunities become available in community-supported and independent employment.
PARTICIPANTS GAIN EXPERIENCE IN AREAS SUCH AS:
SOCIAL SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE
POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
OBTAINING & MAINTAINING EMPLOYMENT