Worcester-based program expanding throughout Massachusetts

Worcester-based Training Resources of America, Inc. (TRA) has received a $1,300,161 grant from the Department of Labor. TRA is one of four awardees nationwide to receive a grant to operate a Young Parents Demonstration Program (YPD) as part of a national project.

Over a two-year period, in partnership with LARE Training Center, TRA will enroll 400 low-income young parents (ages 14-21) into existing Young Parent GED/Work Readiness training programs in Brockton, Fitchburg, Holyoke, New Bedford, Quincy, Salem, Springfield, Worcester, Chelsea and Lawrence.

All 400 participants will receive Young Parent Program services. In addition, 200 will be randomly selected to participate in mentoring services focusing on education, career advancement, and personal development. Volunteer mentors will be recruited from the local communities. Mentoring services will be provided by recruited volunteers for a period of 18 months.

The overall goal of the program is to evaluate the impact of intensive one-on-one mentoring services with regard to Young Parents' Program outcomes and success rates.

Under the program, TRA and LARE will utilize existing young parent education, employment and employment strategy services, case management supportive services, and follow-up and post-program transition services to all youth enrolled.

Local workforce investment boards will provide job referrals and a variety of other services, including career center orientation, employment workshops and related resources to assist young parents with employment opportunities.

TRA anticipates that under the intensive mentoring services, there will be an increase in successful outcomes, including achievement of a GED, transfer to college or certificate programs, and placement into skills training and/ or employment.

“The Young Parent Demonstration Program is providing a wonderful opportunity for caring volunteers in the Springfield and Holyoke areas to be constructive role models for low-income youth and their children,” said Lisa Welcome, TRA-Western Mass. Regional Manager. “By volunteering their time as mentors, they are making a huge difference in the lives of pregnant and parenting teens while supporting the health and well-being of our communities.”

The program is actively recruiting volunteer mentors in both Springfield and Holyoke. For further information, call: 413-732-2223 or 413-532-4755.

Training Resources of America Incorporated (TRA), is a private, non-profit organization that provides a variety of education, employment, training, and workforce development services for both youth and adults at eight locations throughout Massachusetts.

TRA has operated Department of Transitional Assistance funded Young Parents Programs (YPP) throughout the state since 1992. YPP provides pregnant and parenting out-of-school youth, aged 14-21, who have not achieved a high school diploma with a variety of services including: basic education, English as a Second Language and training in parenting, life, and work skills. For more information, visit www.tra-inc.org.