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Program helping at-risk youth find career path

Posted at 5:37 PM, May 04, 2016
A new report finds most high school seniors aren't college or career ready. A local agency is hoping one of its programs will make a dent by helping at-risk youth uncover their potential.
 
Cornelius Melvin is about to finish his freshman year in college. He's feeling confident about his future and credits that to a program he completed called Journey to Success.
 
"It really, really does help. You have all the support you need, all the help you can find," Melvin said.
 
Journey to Success is exclusive to Career Source Suncoast in the greater Bradenton area right now. It's targeted to at-risk youth ages 16 to 24.
 
"In their minds, they have very limited ideas as to 'What could I do for my future?' When we expose them to those areas, or those ideas, it kind of gives them perspective as, 'Okay. I could go into this, making great money, and doing something that I enjoy doing,'" said Vanessa McAllister, youth career coach with Career Source Suncoast.
 
The program helps young people explore careers in information technology, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing, all fields with a huge need for new recruits.
 
"I was just narrow minded. I just wanted to do accounting. That's what I wanted to go to school for. But after this program, I know there's so many more options I can take," Melvin said.
 
The program takes kids like Cornelius outside the classroom and into the workplace to see exactly what a day on the job involves.
 
"That's what we're really focused on is getting them the training, getting them to understand these are some really important steps you need to take for your future, that way you can succeed," McAllister said.
 
Cornelius feels like this experience helped make him more prepared for college, and eventually the workforce, guiding his own journey to success.
 
"You have to have a strong mind to be able to kind of force yourself to do it and just keep on persevering through anything," Melvin said.
 
The summer program of "Journey to Success" starts June 13. Career Source Suncoast is hoping the program will be expanded across the state. If you or someone you know would like to learn more or enroll, call 941-358-4080.