THPP – Apprenticeship Program
What is the Apprenticehip &
THP Plus Programs?
The Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP)
is specifically designed to assist teenagers, ages 16 to
19, to learn and put into practice the skills necessary
for them to enter the adult world successfully.
Environmental Alternatives focuses on youth
employment, hence “Apprenticeship,” for without a
job one cannot afford housing. THP Plus (THP+)
continues this assistance to young adults ages 18 to
24 to complete the transition to successful adulthood.
Until now, the foster care system has done little to
help foster youth successfully make the transition
from dependence, to adulthood. Therefore many of
today’s foster youth leave the foster care system and
within a few short years are struggling to sustain
Program objectives ensure participants leave the foster
care system after successfully completing their
educational goals and obtaining marketable job skills
that will result in employment. Knowledge for
obtaining housing and the experience to care for
themselves independently are additional goals of both
programs which enable foster youth to learn and
practice skills that develop a solid base for successful
THPP & THP + Programs
Environmental Alternatives currently runs THPP
and THP Plus programs in five Northern California
counties: Calaveras, Lassen, Nevada, Plumas, & Yuba. EA is also looking for people throughout
Northern California interested in being host homes
and mentors for THPP and THP+ participants.
If you have any interest in helping today’s foster
youth become tomorrow’s successful adults,
please contact us!
The Apprenticeship Program supports three alternatives for housing. Each choice allows movement and variation leading to the goal of independent living. Families are reimbursed for board and care by the youth from their Apprenticeship earnings. Adults providing supervision, either in the family home or at the teen’s apartment, also receive a small additional fee.
Small Family Home
In this housing arrangement, the foster parent owns or operates a business, and the family provides housing, supervision and apprenticeship training. Foster parents monitor all aspects of the program, including preparing the apprentice for eventual transition to his/her own apartment. Under this alternative, the participant receives the most individual attention and the most normalizing home experience.
Large Family Home
The Large Family Home typically manages four or more teens in one house or in a cluster of homes on a single site. One or more career opportunities are available, and staff is employed to provide supervision and training. A primary live-in parent or supervisor manages the program. The foster youth eventually transitions to one of the on-grounds apartments, cabins or mobile homes. This variant features a facility experience, for teens needing a less intimate and more structured program.
Host Home with Independent Supervisor
For this alternative, the roles of parent and work supervisor are separated. The teen lives in a foster home, while serving as an apprentice for an outside employer. The off-site employer works cooperatively with the foster parent to provide seamless supervision. The teen and a partnership of adults plan for the participant’s transition to independent living.
Careers Create Independence
For ordinary young men and women, their first job is a low-wage, entry-level position. They recognize it as a temporary, first step and are not unduly discouraged by the job’s lack of prospect. For foster youth with a history of failure and tragedy, the same menial job represents the bleak future.
Perhaps that is why many foster youth fail to appreciate the value of work and its future rewards. They need tangible proof of a job’s long-term benefits, something only a career provides. But careers are not easy to obtain. Students with better academic records and stronger family connections are likely to grab those precious slots, leaving many foster teens stuck in the rut of low-wage earning and probable poverty.
Having gained satisfaction from accomplishment, youth are more likely to value and preserve the benefits of independence.
Prematurely placing teens in independent living is risky, for the child and for the community. Too often those well-intentioned efforts set foster youth up for failure. However we believe young people, flushed with pride in pursuing a career, gain the self-worth to succeed. Suddenly the benefits of self-discipline outweigh the temptation to stray from acceptable, mature behavior.
The Solution: Apprenticeships
Eligible foster teens as young as age 16 voluntarily select a career path and begin an apprenticeship under close professional supervision. The path starts at the bottom, learning the basic skills involved. Gradually, they progress through the many tasks each profession or trade demands.
Foster youth are not lost in classrooms, nor are they a free labor source for employers. As training progresses, teens achieve milestones of performance. Tangible certificates of achievement or participation are earned, verifying competence to future prospective employers.
Foster youth earn money for their participation in the training program and school. From their earnings, they pay reasonable fees for housing and living expenses, thereby experiencing the natural process of independence and responsibility.
Our mentors are genuinely motivated to work with young adults and share our vision of career building. They possess the technical skills and experience required to train youth for a specific career. To lessen the burden, employers are reimbursed at minimum wage, or salaries paid to foster youth.
While the foster teen’s world revolves around the apprenticeship, other aspects of life continue. The apprentice continues public education, with the plan of obtaining a diploma or certificate. The trainee also gains independent living skills by enrollment in a State approved ILP training program. Each teen is assigned an EA Social Worker who provides professional assistance and coordination for employers, foster families, county agencies, schools and independent living programs.
The Apprenticeship Program is licensed by the State under the Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) and meets all applicable standards for child care and supervision. Persons interested in checking on the program or Environmental Alternatives are encouraged to contact EA’s local office or call 800-655-8350.