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Fostering Success Through Community Collaboration

The journey to adulthood is a critical phase in every young person’s life, filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. For foster youth exiting foster care, this journey can be particularly challenging, as many lack the community or family support needed to successfully transition into adulthood. At First Place, our work with community partners is a critical part of our approach to empowering foster youth with the resources, guidance, and opportunities necessary to thrive. 

Through our apprenticeship programming, First Place partners directly with employers and educational institutions across each county we serve to provide young people with real-world training and networking opportunities in high-growth industries. Youth receive personalized support, enabling them to explore their interests and discover career pathways in fields like construction, healthcare, information technology, and beyond. We’re proud to have partnered with many amazing organizations, including the YMCA of the East Bay, CA Conservation Corp, Family Harvest Farm, GRID Alternatives, CVS Pharmacy, and Art + Practice, to name a few!  

Participants in our pharmacy apprenticeship program.

This summer, 11 young adults from our Contra Costa and Solano service sites completed our five-week pharmacy technician pre-apprenticeship program in collaboration with CVS Pharmacy. This immersive training equips participants with an in-depth understanding of pharmacy operations, from the roles and responsibilities to the intricacies of workflows at each workstation. Armed with firsthand experience and practical skills, these graduates are now gearing up for a formal 80-hour externship in local CVS Stores. And that’s not all – they also have the option to continue with the CVS Apprenticeship program, a journey that will prepare them for the state’s Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. My First Place participant, Macario, was hired as a CVS Pharmacy Technician after completing the program! 

My First Place participant, Adam.

In Los Angeles County, our partners at Art + Practice offer a paid job shadowing experience for First Place participants, offering insights on what it takes to run a nonprofit gallery. During the three-week program, youth work closely with A+P staff to learn about the responsibilities of managing and administering foster youth and contemporary art programs. My First Place participant, Adam (left), completed his training as a Programs and Visitor Experience apprentice where he participated in online InDesign trainings, greeted visitors in the exhibition space, and presented his research findings on the artist Helen Cammock to A+P’s team!  

Community collaboration brings together the collective strengths, resources, and expertise of various stakeholders to create a supportive environment for foster youth. Our partnerships ensure that no foster youth is left to navigate the complexities of adulthood alone. By working together, we can help empower foster youth to pursue their dreams and aspirations for a brighter future. 

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