Alumni Stories

Foster care youth finds employment success through YouthWorks and Pennsylvania Youth in Transition (PAYT) Project

With all the challenges facing foster care youth, Milan Sweeney, 19 and a recent high school graduate, is a success story. She is off to a strong start in life with a job, career goals and the possibility of college. How did she do it? We must give her the bulk of the credit. And, she was fortunate to participate in the Pennsylvania Youth in Transition (PAYT) Project.

PAYT is a special partnership between YouthWorks and Allegheny County Department of Human Services to assist youth on the journey from foster care toward self-sufficiency.

As part of the PAYT program, Milan attended JumpStart Success, YouthWorks' job readiness training and career exploration program. She embraced this new information and applied for employment at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. She was hired as a dining room attendant and very much enjoys her job.

With this success, Milan was inspired to consider her next steps toward a career. YouthWorks was ready when Milan and her foster mother came knocking with questions about college and how to afford it. That's a big question for any young person, but a special challenge for youth preparing to leave the foster care system. Milan took the initiative. She immediately filed for her Federal Student Aid and then contacted the admissions department at CCAC. She is currently hoping to start her college career in the spring.