In a recent survey of the homeless youth we serve, unemployment and a lack of job skills were identified as the most significant barriers in meeting their goals.
The Vocational Readiness program provides a spectrum of support services to equip youth in exploring,
and reaching, their education and employment goals. The three primary ways we do this are:
Through our Youth Jobs initiative, youth are matched with an employer in the community and their wages are subsidized by Northwest Youth Services. Youth apply and interview for a short-term, part-time, employment opportunity which often provides the footing and experience needed to gain more long-term. permanent employment in the community.
We Grow Garden
We Grow is a job experience opportunity for youth, where youth are employed to work in a community garden. During their time in the garden youth learn hard and soft skills, like accountability and follow through. They also learn gardening and sustainable agriculture skills. Produce is made available to the youth, sold at the We Grow market stand, or donated to places such as the Bellingham Food Bank.
Volunteers At Work
In 2017, the We Grow Garden moved to a brand new location at 1815 Ellis Street. With the support of nearly 100 volunteers from Comcast NBC Universal, as well as supplies and labor generously donated by several other community businesses,
the new garden became a reality!
Youth have the opportunity to meet 1:1 with a vocational support specialist to focus on on their individual education or employment goals. This often entails resume building, completing job searches or prepping for an upcoming interview. This time is centered around the identified goals of each young person.