Hero Image

Santa Barbara County prepares youth for the workforce

The Issue

Teens and young adults often find limited job options due to lack of experience, high unemployment rates and age. To be successful in the job market, teens and young adults need to understand what jobs best suit their skills, abilities, and ambitions; how to effectively apply for a job and develop resumes; and how to be successful on the job once they get one. When jobs are not available, understanding options for self-employment can help teens and young adults consider work options that they can create for themselves.

What Has ANR Done?

Teaming with the Workforce Development Board of Santa Barbara County, Cooperative Extension enhanced the capacity of 31 collaborating agencies in Santa Barbara County to strengthen their workforce development services to 14- to 24-year-olds using the University of California's "Money Talks, Should I Be Working?" curriculum. By implementing a train-the-trainer approach, 57 staff and volunteers were introduced to a flexible education resource that can be used at little or no cost, when and where they want and using a “learn-by-doing” approach. The curriculum was developed for diverse audiences, including youth organization participants, pregnant and parenting teens, students in traditional and non-traditional educational institutions and youth in the juvenile justice system. The program can be accessed free of charge at www.moneytalks4teens.org.

The Payoff

Agencies enhance employability of teens and young adults

Trained staff and volunteers from 15 agencies implemented the "Should I Be Working?" program in youth employment workshops, career camps, family forums, with homeless and foster youth and youth on probation. The trained adults also trained other adults in their organizations and in other community groups, such as Youth Corps crew leaders, sheriff personnel and independent living staff. Evaluations showed that youth they trained were better prepared for employment and were able to find jobs using the skills learned through the curriculum.

Clientele Testimonial

"We trained 25 youth at a career camp in April. Many of the kids interviewed for our summer jobs used the interviewing skills they had learned ... In the 18 years I’ve been doing this, this is the best group of kids we have ever had."


Supporting Unit:

Santa Barbara County, University of California Riverside Consumer Economics Program
Karen Varcoe or Connie Costello, (951) 827-5241, karen.varcoe@ucr.edu or connie.costello@ucr.edu