CHICAGO, IL – The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announced its selection of four sites across the country to receive funding for its Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative for juvenile justice-involved youth. Earlier this year, IEL was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to serve as an intermediary organization to work with communities on the Right Turn initiative.
Lawrence Hall was selected after a competitive nationwide application process and will receive $900,000 over the course of two years to create new intensive individualized care services for 200 local youth between the ages of 14-24 who are involved in the juvenile justice system in Chicago’s 4th Police District.
“This is an important initiative that will help troubled youth work towards better life choices and develop their personal talents towards lasting careers. It will also act as a bridge between existing County programs and help better transition youth into adulthood,” said Francisco Arenas, Grants Coordinator for the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services.
Youth selected for the Right Turn initiative will participate in Lawrence Hall’s Workforce Development and Job Placement programs, which have trained more than 200 youth with over 150 job placements in the past three years. They will receive mentoring from community role models and participate in community service projects.
As part of the initiative, Cabrini Green Legal Aid will be working directly with Lawrence Hall to expunge the records of juvenile offenders.
“Everyone deserves a second chance, especially our children. The Right Turn initiative does just that. This program will help kids stay away from a life of delinquency and unlock the skills they need for fulfilling employment. We look forward to working with Lawrence Hall on this unique partnership,” said Beth Johnson, Director of Legal Programs at Cabrini Green Legal Aid.
The Right Turn initiative will put an emphasis on early intervention as well. Lawrence Hall’s youth often lack safety nets need a positive support system.
“Catching young people who have come into that initial contact with the law and working intensively with them providing workforce development and intensive mentoring among many other supportive services should place that young person on a successful path free from further juvenile justice involvement,” says Kara Teeple, CEO of Lawrence Hall.
As Lawrence Hall expands its reach into the communities they serve moving away from being a child welfare agency to more of a community-based organization, the Right Turn initiative will help Lawrence Hall establish itself in the South Side community.
“The team at Lawrence Hall is thrilled to be selected for IEL’s Right Turn Initiative, and we look forward to targeting these new resources to help Chicago’s 4th District on the South Side,” explains Teeple. “We were encouraged by Juvenile Probation to engage in the 4th District, a resilient community that has sought partnerships in the past to provide services for their youth involved in the justice system.”
“We are pleased to support Lawrence Hall’s Right Turn project to get more young people on a promising road toward economic security,” said Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. “Building strong pathways to quality jobs and important supports like employment training and employee wellbeing policies is essential. We believe this will help more young people – especially those disconnected from opportunity that have been continuously and structurally left out of the economic engine – move up the career ladder and provide a better future for their families.”
Learn more about the Right Turn initiative at www.rightturn.iel.org.