Summer Workforce Program: FloCrit and DaVita Address Pressing Work/School Balance Issue with Teen Moms
Like many other teen moms at Florence Crittenton Services, Juliana and her peers often find themselves facing a tough choice: should they prioritize work over school due to the increasing costs of living? The struggle to balance education with…
Like many other teen moms at Florence Crittenton Services, Juliana and her peers often find themselves facing a tough choice: should they prioritize work over school due to the increasing costs of living? The struggle to balance education with the need to earn money has intensified for many FloCrit students, especially in the wake of the pandemic. In 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of FloCrit students who either had to work or were already employed, with 47% of students falling into this category, a substantial rise from the 19% reported in 2017. While FloCrit’s mission is committed to empowering teen moms to earn their degrees, we understand that the students we serve often have to navigate these tough choices to support their families and themselves.
Recognizing this critical issue, FloCrit partnered with DaVita to pilot a Summer Workforce Program that included workforce skills and the opportunity to receive supplemental income throughout the school year. Donica Snyder, Director of Florence Crittenton Services’ Student and Family Support Program, states that “The goal (for this program) is that returning students have sustainable income and resource support so that they can prioritize their education instead of being pulled away for work.” Students who completed the program, which included weekly skill-building workshops such as self-awareness, resume building, financial literacy, and featured guest speakers like STEM Blazers, were eligible to receive a 200% match from their summer workforce position that is directly distributed as monthly income throughout the year. By pairing this opportunity with the existing resources at FloCrit (such as diapers, housing assistance, food boxes, etc.), we aim to alleviate the financial burden that often negatively affects the attendance and ability of FloCrit students to focus on school.
Liz Gardner, Executive Director of DaVita Giving Foundation and Director of Village Giving, states “DaVita is proud to partner with Florence Crittenton to ensure students have the skills and resources they need to advance into the workforce upon graduation…We support access to quality education for all. In particular, we invest in the exploration of healthcare career pathways and the removal of barriers to access for students interested in the healthcare sector. This special partnership with Florence Crittenton is doing just that and we hope to serve as an employer of choice for Florence Crittenton graduates in the future.”
In this program, Juliana discovered the potential of her strong math skills by connecting with women from STEM Blazers, which revealed career possibilities in fields such as accounting. Moreover, her experience working at Denver Inner City Parish, where she dedicated herself to serving low-income communities through their free food truck and mobile food pantry, deepened her passion for making a positive impact on people’s lives. She exclaims that it made her feel good to give back, and that she liked “helping people and making people’s lives easier.”