Right Turn 2015

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12/4/2015 - The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announced the selection of four sites across the country to be included in the second cohort for its Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative for youth in the juvenile justice system.

In the summer of 2015, IEL was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to serve as an intermediary organization to work with communities on Right Turn. Following a competitive nationwide application process, IEL selected Lawrence Hall in Chicago, Ill., Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., The Children’s Cabinet in Reno, Nev., and Peckham, Inc. in Lansing, Mich.

"We are delighted to announce the expansion of IEL’s Right Turn Initiative,” said IEL's president Martin J. Blank. “Based on the strong youth outcomes from the five existing Right Turn sites, we know these young people will be able to turn their lives around with the help of these communities.”

Each site will receive $900,000 over two years to create new wraparound services for 200 local youth ages 14 to 24 who are involved in the juvenile justice system, providing them with a new opportunity to change direction, to get out of trouble, and to become independent, tax-paying members of society. IEL will help the local organizations use its innovative Right Turn model to engage youth in a career development process that will help them identify their strengths and interests, learn about careers, gain skills to earn industry-recognized credentials, and engage in work experiences leading to employment. To help youth succeed and to track their progress, Right Turn will implement a new web-based Individualized Career Development Plan to tailor the program to their personal goals, strengths, and current situation.

“The team at Lawrence Hall is thrilled to be selected for IEL’s Right Turn Initiative, and we look forward to targeting these new resources to help youth in Chicago’s 4th District on the South Side,” said Kara Teeple, CEO of Lawrence Hall. “The area is one of just ten police districts in Chicago that account for nearly 65 percent of juvenile arrests citywide, and because there are a limited number of existing support programs in the area, the need for these resources is clear.”

“The Children’s Cabinet in Reno exists to keep children safe and families together,” said Kathleen Sandoval,director of operations for The Children’s Cabinet. “We currently provide services and supports to many youth in our community, and we know there are hundreds more who could benefit from the Right Turn program, so we look forward to working with IEL to expand our impact in Reno and Washoe County, Nevada.”

For nearly twenty-five years, IEL has helped public and private sector leaders promote career readiness and successful transitions to adulthood for all youth, with a special focus on youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth, including those involved in the juvenile justice system.  Curtis Richards, director of IEL's Center for Workforce Development explains that “by addressing the developmental needs of youth in the juvenile justice system—with or without disabilities—we increase the likelihood that they will make informed career choices and successfully enter the workforce.”

Supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, Right Turn is based on a number of IEL-created foundational materials, as well as IEL’s experience operating the youth career-focused mentoring model, the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program.

“IEL is eager to share what we have learned with other organizations in this space to increase the effectiveness of all programs for youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system,” Richards continues.