Finding a job and keeping it can be difficult for young people who’ve aged out of the foster care system, but one Valley nonprofit is helping them out.
Trinity Opportunity Alliance connects former foster youth to job opportunities and trains employers on the unique characteristics of this young population.
“We think it’s really important that they have job opportunities and that employers are prepared and understand the trauma that they’ve experienced,” said Berisha Black, director of programs for Trinity Opportunity Alliance.
Having gone through the foster care system herself, Black said she has a personal connection to former foster youth. She said many of them have experienced trauma and ended up in foster care as a result of neglect and abuse.
Black said she educates employers on the challenges these young people are facing so they have a better understanding of why they take certain actions.
“For example, often when a young person doesn’t show up to work or just disappears, that might be for multiple reasons,” she said, pointing to homelessness as one of the reasons.
Black added her group holds monthly calls with employers to discuss any concerns that may have come up. They also work with various organizations – including UMOM New Day Centers and Keys to Success – to identify former foster youth who need help finding a job.
Over the last few years, Trinity Opportunity Alliance and its partners have helped more than 180 young people find jobs.
Black said Fry’s Food Stores has been their biggest employer partner. The grocery store has hired nearly 100 former foster youth.