The Education Program accepts any youth ages 17 – 21 who is interested in studying with the full-time Educator. Students also receive free food, training in life skills, help in obtaining employment, and case management. Case management services may be related or unrelated to their educational goals and may include housing, family, sexuality, or other life issues. Since class size is small (no more than 15 students at a time) the Educator is able to provide individual attention to each person. Each student works at his/her own pace on his/her own level. Students may work in workbooks or on computers, depending on their needs, preferences and abilities. Students may attend class all day or half a day, according to their other work and/or personal responsibilities. One morning and one afternoon per week, a Job Skills Counselor from the YWCA Readiness Center comes to New Connections and works with the students on job skills and career options.
New Connections also operates a Transitional Living program for youth who are in the custody of the state or who are homeless. Youth live in supervised apartments and are required to have jobs and work on educational goals while saving money and learning the skills needed to live on their own. The supervised apartments are in the New Connections building. Each youth has his/her own apartment and lives alone unless s/he has an infant or child. There are six apartments in the building. Five are for residents and the other is for staff. The Transitional Living Coordinator or program relief staff is on-site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and available to youth should they need assistance.
Residents pay rent. The amount is determined based on the client’s ability to pay and the size apartment s/he is occupying. Residents are required to keep their apartments clean and learn how to cook basic nutritional meals, make budgets, manage their own time and money, comparison shop, pay their rent and bills on time, secure and maintain employment, access day care, medical care, or other services if needed. After four to six months in supervised apartments, staff help youth find their own apartments and help them set up those apartments with sheets, towels, dishes, pots and pans, etc. Staff also help the residents move and continue to provide case management and other needed services three times a week.