In conjunction with Foster Care Awareness Month, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores and iFoster commemorated one year of hiring foster youth by hosting 1,000 foster youth at the River Cats game at Raley Field on Saturday evening. The event marked the largest group of foster youth ever assembled for such a celebration.
“We are so grateful to Raley’s for being the first company to work with iFoster to develop our training program and hiring our youth,” said Serita Cox, Executive Director of iFoster. “We are expanding to other companies and regions as quickly as we can to meet demand, both from foster youth seeking permanent employment and employers seeking pre-qualified, eager to work talent.”
In the past year, Raley’s has hired 17 foster youth, with several more candidates currently under consideration. Subsequently, 10 companies have joined Raley’s in employing foster youth who are aging out of the system, resulting in gainful employment for over 100 youth in Placer and Los Angeles Counties, with a 100% hiring success rate and 90% retention rate through their first 6 months on the job. Nine more companies are in the process of joining the program.
“We challenge other retailers to join the Foster Youth Hiring Program! It’s a win-win for the youth and business,” said Mark Foley, Raley’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Labor Relations. “Providing employment opportunities to these young people is enhancing our workforce with dedicated, hard working employees who in turn, inspire their fellow team members.”
Many emancipated foster youths lack a supportive network of adults. Within the first 2 to 4 years after “aging out” of the system, an estimated 50% of these young adults are unemployed, 70% are on public assistance and 50% will experience homelessness.
The foster youth hiring program reaches beyond giving foster youth and their families a life changing opportunity. For every youth put on the path to independence, the program saves society an average of $1 million in lost contribution.
May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals and other members of the community who make a meaningful difference in the lives of the nearly 400,000 children and youths in the foster care system.