YouthWORKS411 News
Volume 4, March 2009

YouthWORKS411Statewide Youth Workforce Development System

In spite of rising unemployment, Rhode Island’s Youth Workforce Development System continues to grow.

Effective April 1, 2009, 44 youth vendors will provide services to 2,465 new Rhode Island youth participants, bringing the total to over 7,600 youth receiving services through the YouthWORKS411 statewide youth system.

Over four million state and federal dollars were made available for this program beginning with a Request for Proposal process in November and December 2008. A record number of 95 potential bidders attended the bidder’s conference in November 2008.

The YouthWORKS411Statewide Youth Workforce Development System consists of 13 centers (click on the youth centers map) that provide direct services to all in-school or out-of-school youth between the ages 14-24. Center staff may also refer youth to other vendors for additional services which include: vocational interest inventory, academic assessment, job skills training, résumé writing, completing employment applications, mock interviews, academic services, pre-GED, GED, remediation, summer jobs programs, leadership skills, job readiness training and work experience.

There are many youth success stories stemming from the collaborative efforts of the RI Department of Labor and Training, the Governor’s Workforce Board RI, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston and the Workforce Partnership of Greater RI. Lifespan, one of the organizations that has demonstrated a strong commitment to this collaborative effort to help Rhode Island’s youth, shares its success below.

Lifespan invests in Rhode Island's Youth

Healthcare is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy. To meet future healthcare needs, it is imperative that we invest in the next generation of the workforce. Lifespan’s youth employment program has existed for approximately 40 years; it expanded significantly four years ago as a result nursing shortages as well as other healthcare professional shortages. “Simply put, we can’t afford not to invest in the future workforce for the healthcare industry.”

In addition to educating and employing a sufficient supply of health care workers, Lifespan is committed to hiring the most talented, passionate and diverse group of workers. Lifespan’s youth development program identifies these individuals while they are still in high school and hopes to attract them, not only to the healthcare field, but to Lifespan. “We’re not just looking for a sufficient supply. We are looking for the best, so that they can provide our patients with the highest quality of care available anywhere in New England.”

Brandon Melton
Senior Vice President, Human Resources


Brandon Melton


Taking a look at Lifespan’s Youth Employment Program’s success

In 2008, Lifespan celebrated its most successful year, graduating 91 youth, or 99 percent, from its program.

Lifespan is the largest private employer of summer youth in the state. Its program is designed to have a holistic approach to developing the “whole child” as a high-performing employee by providing workplace readiness skills, work experience and improved self-efficacy. To be eligible, youth must be 16 to 19 years of age, demonstrate a willingness to learn through an application and interview process, and live in communities that neighbor the hospital; or they must live in Rhode Island and have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. Candidates are not expected to have prior work experience. Managers and staff hosting summer youth employees participate in a training workshop prior to the program. The youth are also required to attend two pre-summer workshops, which prepare them for the program and then the workplace.


Alexis Devine

In the Lifespan Summer Youth Employment Program, youth are hired as Lifespan employees who work 37 hours per week for nine weeks while earning $8 to $9 per hour. They work in their respective departments four days each week, performing duties that range from office support services to direct patient care. Some of the departments include nursing, transport, pediatric neurological development, radiology, respiratory therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, patient registration and corporate services.

Once a week, youth are required to attend youth development workshops, which provide personal and professional development training. All training has a particular focus on teaching transferable skills, team and leadership training, and exploring the youth’s sense of identity. Workshop topics include Exploration of Personal Identity and It’s Development in the Workplace, Employer Standards and Expectations, Cultural Competence, Mental Wellness: How do You Choose Happiness?, Food and Nutrition, Résumé Writing and Interview Competition, Managing Emotions in the Workplace, Accountability, Team and Leadership Building, Meyers-Briggs Assessment, Communication and Public Speaking, Nonviolence and CPR Certification. Community partners, including the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, conduct several of the workshops.

The 2008 program year had many highlights. Those who participated in their third year or more served as peer leaders, designing and conducting a debate match workshop and coordinating a voter registration project to register nearly 20 eligible youth employees. Lifespan also partnered with Goodwill Industries of RI to include five youth in their program.

Additional funding from Workforce Solutions of Providence/ Cranston and the Workforce Partnership of Greater RI allowed Lifespan to expand the Seacole Scholar Program. This program allows youth, who earn their CNA license while in high school, to work in nursing units. The number of CNA scholars grew from 12 to 20 this year. Three of the Seacole graduates have accepted CNA jobs at RI Hospital. The program also increased its capacity by hiring additional staff. Stephanie Luther was hired as case manager and Joshua Laguerre as project coordinator. Joshua is a former Lifespan summer youth employee.

The fourth annual Lifespan summer employees graduation was held on August 22, 2008 with the graduates presenting on their summer experiences Eleven youth were awarded academic scholarships towards post-secondary education.

To date, nearly 30 percent of all program graduates have been hired and work in permanent positions at Lifespan affiliates. Twenty-two youth accepted hospital positions following the 2008 summer program. Recruitment for summer 2009 began last November. Applications are posted on

Alexis Devine
Youth Development Coordinator

From program participant to project manager:
A 21-year-old’s career path at Lifespan

“From office services to nursing, to data oncology and diversity, to human resources and stepping up; I’ve done it all,” says Joshua Laguerre. Now 21 years old, Joshua has been working for Lifespan for six years. “I understand that this is a very unusual statement coming from someone so young, but due to the investment of Lifespan into the youth of this city, I can say that I am excited about my future, and the future of the participants of the Lifespan Summer Youth Employment Program.”

Joshua says that the majority of his growth and professional development over the past six years is due to Lifespan’s commitment to youth. Participating in the Lifespan Summer Youth Program allows youth the exposure to a variety of healthcare fields. More importantly, Joshua said that being involved in such a program allows youth to determine which careers they don’t want.

“I am now a part-time employee at Lifespan, working as the Project Coordinator for the Lifespan Summer Youth Program. My vast summer employment experiences, prepared me for the role I play today within Lifespan, he says”


Joshua Laguerre

YouthWORKS411 adds a new team member

YouthWORKS411 is pleased to announce the addition of Adrianna Goode as statewide youth center manager. Adrianna brings extensive experience and knowledge to the Youth Workforce Development System. Previously, Adrianna worked for the Comprehensive Community Action Agency (CCAP) with her most recent position as the Providence Skills Center Site Manager and Internal Auditor for three of CCAP's youth centers. Adrianna is a graduate of Providence College with a B.A. in psychology and is currently attending UMASS Boston for her master’s degree in family therapy.

As statewide youth center manager, Adrianna will oversee the operations and uniformity of the 13 Rhode Island youth centers. She will work closely with the Governor's Workforce Board's Youth Development Committee, the RI Department of Labor and Training's Youth Services Division and the two local workforce investment boards to ensure continued success and growth in the YouthWORKS411 System.
Welcome aboard, Adrianna!

  Adrianna Goode

Building Exemplary Systems for Training Youth Worker (BEST) Initiative

Forty youth workers are currently participating in the youth worker certificate training program sponsored primarily by the Governor’s Workforce Board’s Building Exemplary Systems for Training Youth Worker (BEST) initiative. This 32-hour professional development program offers interactive training with expert instructors and networking opportunities with youth development peers. The BEST certificate allows the participants to master core competencies critical to the youth work field and is also recognized by many higher education institutions. The curriculum includes: Positive Youth Outcomes, Adolescent Developmental Stages, Cultural Competence, Adulitism and Stereotypes of Youth and Professional Portfolio Development. The training began in January and will conclude with a graduation ceremony in September 2009.

Save the Date! 3rd Annual YouthWORKS 411 CONFAB May 20, 2009


RI State Seal   Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Sandra M. Powell, Director