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Edward DeJesus


The goal of the THRIVAL Corps is to engage justice- involved and other complex needs youth in experiential activities that prepare them for long term labor market participation and success.  YAP created Thrival Corps after realizing that many complex needs youth were overlooked from participation in traditional workforce development efforts

THRIVAL Corps is an experiential based initiative; designed to get youth out into the real world of work, no matter how prepared society thinks they need to be. THRIVAL Corps has NO entry or exit criteria thereby NO youth should be excluded from participation and success.

The goal of Thrival Corps is not a job. Rather, the focus is on helping spark young people’s sense of belonging and attachment to the world of work through three assets: labor market information, workforce connections, and service learning activities.  While young people may find a job while in Thrival Corps, the focus is helping them use these assets to make measurable gains in the development of workforce skills, connections, credentials, work experiences and education ( the five elements of Future Economic Opportunity -FEO).

THRIVAL CORPS members learn about the importance of education, work and healthy lifestyles by promoting the importance of such assets in the community. THRIVAL Corps is a revolution in youth workforce development because it is the first employment readiness initiative for court-involved and other high-risk youth developed on a Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) framework.

THRIVAL Corps combines experiential work learning experiences and service learning opportunities with cognitive-based strategies to prepare high-risk youth for successful labor market participation and growth. Through the use of a PYJ framework, THRIVAL Corps creates a rich, workforce learning environment that intentionally connects home, community, and the labor force. It utilizes these assets to:

  • Build youth and community knowledge and access to labor market information and career opportunities.
  • Provide authentic service learning opportunities to help enhance youth’s knowledge of various career pathways, behaviors, and skills needed for labor market participation and success.
  • Work with the youth and their family to remove barriers to long-term labor market participation and success.
  • Foster long-term positive relationships between youth and Opportunity Advisors (de-facto career mentors) and elicit their support in helping youth learn about work experience, credentialing, skill building and other developmental opportunities.
  • Engage youth in meaningful service learning projects designed to spread the message about the importance of education and work.



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