Right Turn Face Forward Program Design

Program Design Components


The Right Turn Career-Focused Transition initiative (Right Turn) will adapt the Guideposts for Success for Transition Age Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System (JJ Guideposts), the three career development phases from the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) demonstration project, and lessons from the RAMP initiative for court-involved youth and Right Turn HPHC Initiative to provide occupational training in demand industries, industry-recognized credentials, and workforce activities to 800 youth: at least 720 with current or past court-involvement and up to 80 in-school (grades 8-12) at-risk of dropping out (low grades, test scores, math/reading skills, or attendance; discipline problems; special education/504 plan). IEL/CWD will work with four sub-grantees to implement Right Turn in at least two states. IEL will apply lessons, tools, and strategies developed from the 14-site RAMP Initiative (a career-focused mentoring program for court-involved and at-risk youth funded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)) and its experience with the five current HPHC Right Turn sites to this initiative. It will include a six-month planning period (three months sub-grantee selection/three months prep activities), 24 months of implementation, and at least nine months of follow-up services.

The Right Turn Career-Focused Transition initiative will adapt the Guideposts for Success for Transition Age Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, the three career development phases gleaned from the Individualized Learning Plan demonstration project, implementation strategies of the five existing Right Turn Sites, and lessons learned from the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) for court-involved youth to provide occupational training in demand industries, industry-recognized credentials, and workforce activities to juvenile offenders, ages 14 to 24. The Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development (IEL/CWD) will work with four local sub-grantees to implement this initiative in at least two states, serving 800 youth. The overarching framework for Right Turn is the strengths-based Guideposts for Success approach which addresses the comprehensive needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice system, including youth with disabilities, by ensuring that youth have access to: school-based preparatory experiences; career preparation and work-based learning experiences; youth development and leadership opportunities; connecting activities (support and community services); and family involvement and supports. Right Turn will engage youth in a three-phase career development process that includes self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management. Through this process, all youth will: identify their personal strengths and interests; learn about specific careers through employer guest speakers, informational interviews, and workplace visits; complete soft skills and occupational training; obtain hands-on work experience through summer jobs, internships, employment, and restorative justice projects; set and achieve education and training goals that align with personal career goals such as obtaining a high school diploma or GED, earning an industry-recognized credential, or pursuing postsecondary education; and receive ongoing support from youth advocates and adult mentors (including any family supports). Sites will use a web-based Individualized Career Development Plan (ICDP) to tailor each youth’s career development process to their personal goals, strengths, and current stage. To ensure youth successfully complete high school diplomas, GEDs, skills training, and occupational credentials, sub-grantees will partner closely with public school, alternative education, apprenticeship, occupational training, and postsecondary entities. As in the RAMP model, each youth will receive one-on-one career-focused mentoring throughout the career transition process. Youth will also participate in service learning projects using the “restorative justice model”, developing work experience and soft skills while giving back to the local community. Local sub-grantees will partner with the juvenile justice system and non-profit legal service organizations to develop expungement processes for existing charges and diversion opportunities to close cases. IEL/CWD will competitively select the four sub-grantees during an open request for proposal process with scoring based on target population and the alignment of selected training program with local workforce needs, general organizational capacity to implement the program, and specific capacity in the eight required component areas.  Additional points will be awarded to high-poverty, high crime communities.  Outcomes will be documented by: youth participation in education, training, mentoring, restorative justice, expungement, diversion, and workforce activities; ICDPs completed; individual goals met; industry-recognized credentials attained; High school diploma, GED, or postsecondary degree completion; placement in unsubsidized employment, postsecondary education, the military, or occupational skills training leading to credentials in demand industries; younger youth placement in high school or a GED program; retention in education and employment placements; charges expunged; diverted cases closed without adjudication; and recidivism rates.

Case Management

Case management will be coordinated by a team of case managers at each sub-grantee site. Each sub-grantee will be required to have at least three full-time case managers with experience in workforce development and youth services. This is 30 – 35 youth per case manager at full enrollment, a ratio that works well for the current Right Turn sites. Case managers guide and support each youth through IEL’s three-phase career development process: self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management. Case managers will meet with youth weekly when first enrolled (unless a more frequent need is assessed at intake) and through the self-exploration phase. As youth progress to career exploration, planning, and management, in-person meetings may move to every other week or even monthly work-site visits depending on placement (case managers will still check in weekly by phone, email, or text). To ensure all services are individually tailored to youth’s age, stage, and interests, sub-grantees will work with youth to create Individualized Career Development Plans (ICDPs) within 30 days of enrollment. ICDPs are developed using a youth-driven process to improve buy-in and follow-through. The ICDP will be housed on the Career Information System (CIS), a career guidance software platform developed by University of Oregon’s intoCareers, and integrated with state career information systems. Using this plan, case managers will identify and connect youth to the education and workforce activities that best match the youth’s current stage, skills, and interests, as well as their career goals. Case managers will serve as job coaches for youth to support their success and retention in work experiences and employment and as educational advocates supporting youth’s school enrollment, attendance, academic achievement, and credential attainment. Case managers will also use the ICDP to link with JJS and other community providers for the supportive services youth need for success including mental health services, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, child care, transportation, financial literacy counseling, appropriate attire and supplies for work, training, education, federal benefits (SNAP, Pell Grants, Medicaid, TANF), child care, and other assistance. Sub-grantees will be required to have existing relationships with JJS, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and other social services providers. As disability is one of IEL/CWD’s area of expertise, IEL/CWD will ensure sub-grantees have relationships with vocational rehabilitation, independent living centers (ILCs) and protection and advocacy agencies (P&As), as well as the many NCWD/Youth resources, to ensure youth with disabilities connect to benefits counseling, Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI), IDEA and 504 rights, and reasonable work accommodations. Case managers will ensure youth understand each stage of the JJ process (including civil rights related to their records and employment, housing, and voting) and foster strong relationships with parole and probation officers. Case managers will use these strong partnerships, as well as relationships with juvenile judges and prosecutors, to monitor youth’s progress and completion of the program and have their charges diverted or dismissed. Case managers will get court records or other documentation directly from the parole or probation officers showing the successful diversion of charge(s) or reasons they were not. Case managers will provide ongoing follow-up support from the time of enrollment through the end of the grant period to promote retention and success in education and workforce opportunities and continued connection to support services. The ICDP is not just a document but an ongoing process and goal-setting tool updated throughout the program and the follow-up period.


Sub-grantees must have experience operating mentoring programs and identify a mentoring coordinator to manage mentor recruitment, training, matching, and supervision. Sub-grantees will provide 100% of Right Turn youth with a combination of group, peer, and one-to-one mentoring. Mentors will work with youth to develop and monitor progress on their ICDPs. Mentors will be required to make a minimum one-year commitment, as research shows longer-term adult-youth relationships produce greater positive youth outcomes. Mentor-mentee matches will be based on career and educational interests, community proximity, personal interests, and other factors. Youth and mentors will meet together for at least an hour every week and work together on career development activities that support the ICDP goals. Mentors will help youth stay engaged and make progress in education and employment, constructively solve problems, access social services, and maintain contact to case managers, JJS officers, and other members of their transition teams. Mentors will also help youth returning to their community address family and other transition-related issues. In addition to individual time spent with youth, mentors may work with youth in career-focused small group sessions. Mentors will help youth stay accountable for participation in internships, education, employment, and apprenticeships through regular individual contact and check-ins that can identify small challenges before they become big problems. Sub-grantees must be able to recruit at least 25 mentors (maintaining a 1:4 mentor/mentee ratio or less) from existing mentor pools or reach new mentors by advertising locally, working with mentoring collaboratives, and connecting to community, faith-based, business, and postsecondary partners (all methods successfully used by current RAMP and Right Turn sites). Using IEL tools, sub-grantees will screen mentors through standards and practices outlined by MENTOR, the national mentoring partnership, including a written application, personal and professional reference checks, federal sex offender screening, and criminal background checks. Sub-grantees will use IEL resources to train mentors on the basics of the program, working with court-involved youth, organization policies, youth development, career-focused mentoring, establishing boundaries, relationship building, mandatory reporting, and connecting to resources. With IEL support, sub-grantees will be responsible for initial mentor orientations and ongoing training. IEL/CWD will provide mentor enrollment, screening, and training materials from its existing programs and share these during orientation and webinars.

Educational Interventions

At every stage of the juvenile justice process, youth need to participate in educational programs grounded in content standards, with clear performance expectations and graduation options based on meaningful, accurate, and relevant indicators of student learning and skills. To ensure youth successfully complete high school diplomas, GEDs, and occupational credentials, sub-grantees will be required to have established relationships with the public school system, adult and alternative education programs, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, postsecondary institutions, and occupational training programs in high-demand fields. When a youth is enrolled in this initiative, a case manager will identify his/her educational aptitude, needs, and goals as a part of the ICDP. Youth who have not yet attained a high school diploma or GED will be counseled on how completion of a high school credential will help them achieve personal career goals. Individualized goals for academic skills gains and secondary or postsecondary credential attainment will be included in youth’s plans. The ICDP will take into consideration specific accommodation and support needs of youth with disabilities, including learning disabilities and mental health conditions. Youth with disabilities will receive guidance on their rights under IDEA and ADA, including how to obtain accommodations and make decisions about disability disclosure. All sub-grantees will receiving training and resources on universal design for learning from IEL/CWD’s many publications on this topic, include samples of multiple means for representation, expression, and engagement in educational and workforce content. Youth recently transitioning back to the community will receive assistance enrolling in the secondary school, GED programs, or credit recovery program fitting their needs and goals. Youth will receive educational advocacy support as needed to re-enroll in or transfer into a school or education program matching his/her needs. Sub-grantees will be required to demonstrate the capacity to provide educational advocacy support and place youth in supportive educational settings where they can earn high school diplomas or GEDs. Sub-grantees will be required to have relationships with public and alternative education providers (alternative school, GED program, credit recovery program) committed to enrolling Right Turn. Youth who have already completed high school credentials will be enrolled in postsecondary education and training relevant to their career goals. Sub-grantees will be required to demonstrate the capacity to provide postsecondary transition counseling and assist youth with enrolling in and adjusting to postsecondary education and training. Priority will be given to sub-grantee applicants that have existing partnerships with postsecondary education institutions, occupational training programs, and pre-apprenticeship programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials.

Service Learning

Each Right Turn sub-grantee will engage youth in Restorative Justice Projects, service learning projects that give back to their communities. These projects will be transformative for both youth and communities. The youth will gain not only workforce preparation and specific skills but a newfound vision of themselves as positive contributors to their community. Communities will benefit from the actual work completed, as well as from developing a new vision of these former “troubled” youth as positive assets. Also, a group of youth with leadership and workforce skills will be able to contribute to the tax-base of the community. In each community, youth will be strategically placed in service projects during the Career Planning and Management phase of the program. Some youth may participate in quarterly service activities. Older youth’s service project placement may be paid work experiences related to their interests. During all service projects, emphasis will be placed on youth acquiring specific career-related skills, as well as basic soft skills relevant to any work situation, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking. The JJ Guideposts highlight this type of service as a key opportunity for youth to exercise leadership and build self-esteem. In all cases, the service projects will be related to specific community needs and completed in partnership with government agencies and other community-based organizations. Adequate youth to supervisor ratios (10 to one) will be maintained by staff and partner personnel. Some prior restorative justice projects of IEL’s current Right Turn sites include: preparing and delivering meals to homeless people (earning a food handling credential); working with Habitat for Humanity to build homes (basic construction skills and teamwork); and working with KaBOOM! to build a playground (only youth members of planning team). Sub-grantees will be required to specify in their application the types of restorative justice projects planned, any existing partnerships connected to those projects, supervision plans for youth, and the specific skills youth will develop during the project (e.g. basic plumbing, energy conservation, teamwork, horticulture, customer service, leadership, etc.). IEL/CWD will work with sites to ensure disability accommodations are identified, provided, and included in ICDP. IEL/CWD has materials on learning disabilities and mental health needs, as well as connections to the Job Accommodation Network, Independent Living Centers, and other disability resources.

Occupational Training in Demand Industries which Lead to Industry-Recognized Credentials

All sub-grantees will develop training programs leading to industry-recognized credentials for demand industries in their area. Sub-grantees must collaborate with Workforce Investment Boards, Chambers of Commerce, and industry groups to identify in-demand skills for the state and local area. Sub-grantees will be required to demonstrate existing relationships in their application through memorandums of understanding, letters of support, or other written documentation. Sub-grantees will work with these partners to gather labor market information and identify related industry-recognized credentials appropriate for youth. Sub-grantees will also use input from these partners, especially employers, to screen potential training providers and guide training curriculums. IEL’s current sites use Employer Advisory Groups, as well as informational interviews, worksite visits, and employer mentors, to ensure youth are gaining the skills employers’ desire. In addition, sites gather employer feedback through regular surveys and check-ins before, during, and after each youth placement to continuously improve youth preparation and program content. Although it is not a requirement of the HPHC grants, current Right Turn sites are already connecting youth to industry recognized credentials, such as: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 Construction training, Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) certifications, certified chainsaw operator, commercial drivers license (CDL), food handler, construction flagger, and certified nursing assistant (CNA). As part of the ICDP, case managers will work with youth to identify the industry-recognized credential that best fits each youth’s career goals and current stage. For younger and out-of-school youth, this may include a high-school diploma or GED. Sixty percent of enrolled youth will complete at least one industry-recognized credential by the end of the project performance period. Sub-grantees will be required to provide a training schedule that works for both in-school and out-of-school youth. Some RAMP sites work with in-school youth during the day via school partnerships and others meet on-school property during after-school time. Right Turn sites currently run programs for out-of-school youth during the day, evenings, and even weekends to meet youth’s work, child care, or transportation constraints. IEL/CWD will work with each sub-grantee’s training providers to be sure all training is both physically and programmatically accessible, including applying universal design for learning to all content. IEL developed many resources for adapting universal design for learning strategies to workforce settings.

Workforce Activities that Lead to Employment

Right Turn will engage youth in workforce development through a 3-phase career development process: 1) Self-Exploration, 2) Career Exploration, and 3) Career Planning and Management. In the Self-Exploration phase, youth identify their personal strengths, skills, values, and interests using validated career assessments. In the Career Exploration phase, youth learn about specific careers and career pathways through various small group activities, including employer guest speakers, informational interviews, workplace visits, and job shadowing. Career exploration includes learning about various high-growth career clusters and pathways using local and state labor market information. Career Planning and Management activities include training in soft skills; obtaining hands-on work experience through summer jobs, internships, employment, or restorative justice-focused service work; setting and achieving education and training goals that align with personal career goals, including obtaining a high school diploma or GED, earning industry-recognized occupational credentials, and pursuing postsecondary credentials; and receiving ongoing support from staff and adult mentors, including job coaching, academic assistance, and supportive services. Each sub-grantee will provide workforce development services to 200 youth by the end of the project period. Youth will be enrolled on a rolling basis and the duration of services will vary based on each youth’s ICDP. Some youth may move quickly into unsubsidized employment, occupational training, or postsecondary education, while other youth may need more time to explore careers, develop soft skills, and obtain subsidized work experience (or OJT where employer pays youth during workplace training but is reimbursed for training costs) before they are ready for placement. IEL/CWD believes youth, especially court-involved youth and those with disabilities, cannot be served effectively with a one-size-fits-all approach, because each youth’s strengths, interests, and needs are distinct. Youth, staff, and mentors will use the ICDP to develop tangible plans to achieve entry-level access to career pathways of interest, including secondary and postsecondary education, career exposure, work experiences, and skills attainment. The ICDP will be a living document that guides each youth’s progress in all areas of the initiative. Sub-grantees will identify case managers with workforce development experience and a manager of workforce development. To help youth be successful in employment and enhance employment placement and retention outcomes, case managers will be responsible for working intensively with youth to obtain soft and occupational skills, address employment barriers, and provide ongoing support. Training will align with high-growth industries in the community and case managers will help youth seal or expunge their records and prepare responses to employer’s record-related questions. Sub-grantees will identify a job developer to build relationships with career-track employers, specifically those in high-growth industries, to place youth in subsidized work experiences or OJT and unsubsidized employment, internships, and apprenticeships. Sub-grantees will prepare youth for unsubsidized, living-wage employment by offering supported, subsidized work experience opportunities. Sub-grantees will place youth ages 17 and under in internships and summer jobs and youth ages 18 and older in employment or apprenticeships. To provide work experiences, sub-grantees will partner with employers in high-demand industries and those career fields matching youth’s personal career goals. Finally, case managers will assist older youth with obtaining unsubsidized employment, apprenticeships, postsecondary education, or occupational skills training. The progression from self-exploration, through skill building, connection to education, internships and subsidized employment, to placement in postsecondary education and unsubsidized employment will help youth remain attached in the workforce with career-track jobs.

Follow-Up Services

Right Turn sub-grantees will provide at least nine months of post-program support and follow up to all 800 enrolled youth. As the programs will have rolling enrollment and varying periods of service some youth who are placed in jobs or educational opportunities early in the program may be in follow-up while others are still in the program or just enrolling. Sub-grantees will need to demonstrate strong follow-up procedures, including a system for maintaining, tracking, and documenting regular contact with program alumni and a wealth of post-program supports and services, including tutoring, mental health services, peer support groups, crisis management, transportation assistance, substance abuse counseling, and other community-based resources, as needed. A post-program follow-up and support plan will be part of the transition plan completed for each youth as part of the ICDP. It is critical to develop a transition plan that includes youth, families, mentors, case managers, and other stakeholders. It is expected that all youth, and especially at-risk youth, will hit some “stumbling blocks” along the road to independence. Sub-grantees must build post-program supports into the program at the beginning, including monthly contacts for the first three months for all youth and then quarterly or monthly for the next 6 months depending on the youth’s progress and educational or work placements. This follow-up should include: youth, families, parole/probation officers, school personnel, employers, counselors, and other community stakeholders connected to each youth.

Expungement and Diversion Services

As stated in the JJ Guideposts, diversion is less expansive, avoids stigmatizing youth, and is often more effective than incarceration in reducing youth recidivism. Sub-grantees will be required to have existing partnerships with the JJS and will be assisted by IEL/CWD in expanding those partnerships to include a diversion track for youth. Sub-grantees will work with police, intake officers, prosecutors, parole/probation officers, and juvenile judges to understand the requirements for diversion and how to become an official diversion option in their JJS. In addition, subgrantees will meet regularly with these groups to raise awareness of the Right Turn Initiative, leaving program flyers, contact information, and referral forms for easy future access. IEL/CWD will work with subgrantees to establish these types of relationships in their community. With existing charges where it is too late for diversion, subgrantees will work with their JJS to get the records of eligible youth expunged. Subgrantees will first work to understand the current requirements for expungement and then set up a standard screening process as part of the ICDP for all youth with existing charges. In addition, IEL/CWD will work with their national partner, NACDL, to provide national trends, resources, and innovative strategies for both expungement and diversion. This information will help local sub-grantees strengthen their JJS partnerships and try new practices. Subgrantees will work with JJS to track youth progress, validating charges dismissed. New Right Turn sites will work with police departments, non-profit legal services, and JJ courts to develop diversion and expungement programs, as well as refer youth.