The first National Performance Review Hammer Award for 1998 is being presented in the Pentagon today by Acting Assistant Secretary for Force Management Policy Francis M. Rush to representatives from Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL), Calif., responsible for the "Schools-to-Careers" Program.
Emphasizing values, good citizenship, and the avoidance of detrimental and delinquent behavior, the "Schools-to-Careers" Program exemplifies the key National Performance Review principles of cutting red tape, getting back to basics, forming partnerships for mutual benefit, empowering local communities, and putting the customer -- in this case, the youth -- first.
The "Schools-to-Careers" Program created a dynamic, formal partnership, the Kings County Coalition, linking the local military, business, and education communities to promote excellence in educational, career, and volunteer activities for Defense Department family members, ages six to 18 years.
The coalition's collaborative efforts provide training, volunteer, educational, and work experiences for local youths.
The "Schools-to-Careers" Program responds to the top concern of NASL youths -- employment opportunities and career information.
A genuine customer-driven endeavor, the "Schools-to-Career" Progam receives guidance from a voluntary group of 43 dedicated and enthusiastic youths who comprise the Youth Advisory Council.
In addition to creating and maintaining a state-of-the-art multi-media educational technology center, the "Schools-to-Careers" program includes "job shadowing" opportunities and links existing youth sports and fitness programs, social and recreational activities, before and after school programs, and holiday and summer camps into a comprehensive system addressing the full developmental spectrum for children and youths.
Coalition efforts produced a very successful Summer Youth Employment Program that includes three weeks of pre-employment training, six weeks of employment in career-related jobs, weekly "life skills" workshops and a minimum of thirty hours of community service.
Another key accomplishment was the creation of curricula for kindergarten through twelfth grade students to prepare them to become productive and involved citizens and, for older children, to make informed career decisions.
The program was conceived in 1994 as a proposal responding to the Department of Defense Model Community for Children and Youth demonstration project.
The project sought solutions at the local installation level to rising national concerns about negative influences on youths.
The NASL proposal was selected from a pool of 138 submissions to be one of twenty demonstrations and received funding over three years to develop and implement the "Schools-to-Careers" Program.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education Carolyn H. Becraft described NASL's "Schools-to-Careers" Program as "an exemplary quality of life effort specifically for youth that supports my belief that the local approach is the wave of the future for family programs."
Presenting the Hammer Award, Rush said: "This cooperative investment of community resources is helping to guide hundreds of young people into productive employment and the values of good citizenship.
It's a win for the parents, educators, the business community, our society, and most of all for the children themselves."