A growing number of law enforcement initiatives have been launched to connect youth in the community with resources, education and mentorship opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of $30.5 million in grants to local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies helping troubled juveniles enter the workforce successfully. Marking the third phase of the Face Forward program, the grants will help court-involved youth overcome barriers in the way of gaining job skills and starting new careers.
The goal of the grant program is to provide court-involved youths with occupational training credentials that will create career opportunities while reducing recidivism. The strategy is part of the department’s career pathways initiative that coordinates education and training services to ensure juveniles have the necessary, industry-recognized skills to fill in-demand jobs.
Winners of the Face Forward grant program must provide the community with a variety of services such as:
- Case management
- Training services
Furthermore, the programs must work to eliminate the stigma of a juvenile record that often stands in the way of youths looking to enter the workforce and become productive citizens. By intervening and providing services to youths between the ages of 14 and 24 that have been involved in the juvenile justice system, local agencies hope to break the cycle of crime and incarceration in underserved communities.
The Milwaukee Police Department in Wisconsin is also focusing on strengthening the youth population by offering an ambassador program for individuals interested in working in law enforcement. The program offers students with part-time jobs as ambassadors who will work with police officer mentors for one year, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The students will receive $10.66/hr for their work and four hours of education weekly while they learn the realities of a career in law enforcement. The ambassadors will gain experience in:
- District stations
- The training academy
- 911 communications center
- Office of Community Outreach and Education
Not only will the students receive first-hand training and expertise from police officers, but law enforcement agencies will be gain experience in working with the community to improve outcomes and safety, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
San Francisco Police Cadet
San Francisco recently launched the UniteSF initiative to better prepare local students for success in college and a diverse array of career paths. In partnership with local agencies, the private sector and academic institutions, San Francisco has set three education goals under the UniteSF initiative:
- High school graduation rate of 100%
- Every student has access and support to achieve higher education in college or skilled vocational programs
- Every student has a pathway to sustainable jobs and careers
Under the UniteSF initiative is the city’s Police Cadet Program designed to expose students to various aspects of police work to prepare them for a career in law enforcement. The program connects participants with experience in a variety of law enforcement duties to support safety and non-safety personnel. The training helps provide quality candidates for all law enforcement related positions including:
- Police officer
- Community police services aide
- 911 dispatcher
Participants engage in a wide array of duties such as:
- Filing criminal records or correspondences
- Directing and controlling traffic
- Searching handbags and containers
- Maintain records and retrieves information
- Providing first aid and CPR in case of life-threatening emergencies
The goal of the program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to successfully deal with the public, implement police department practices, function within the police department and enforce laws in the community.