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At-Risk Youth Agencies Using the Adkins Program
Helping At-Risk Youth Find Their Own Direction

"Having a well structured, interesting group program to provide career counseling to my students has made all the difference. Students love it and so do I. It takes advantage of the good way adolescents enjoy groups. It is rich in resources."
- High School Counselor in New York City

Young and older adults, in hundreds of voices and many kinds of institutions, express this sentiment when talking about the Adkins Program:

"If I had had this program when I was in High School, I would have had some goals and I wouldn't have:

  • dropped out, or
  • ended up in prison, or
  • been so vulnerable to drugs, or
  • had to go on welfare, or
  • had so many children that I couldn't develop myself, or
  • settled for this boring job, or
  • ended up unemployed , or
  • lost so many years…

And research backs up these reports.

  • High School students who have clear career goals or who have spent effort in trying to determine their career goals, stay in school, work harder, achieve more, go on more often for further training and have more stable careers than students who have not spent effort in thinking about and planning for their future during the high school years.
  • During the high school years, the adolescent is shaping the kind of adult identity that will largely govern his/her later development. Career Counseling, if well done, is one of the most important ways in which schools facilitate positive and effective identity development.
  • Providing counseling to students is often difficult for schools and agencies because of limited funds and low counselor-to-student ratios. As a result, many schools offer inadequate career counseling and guidance services. Many students report seeing their counselors less than one hour a year. The situation is considerably better when counselors use group methods, but they are hard to use, and often are done poorly.

Effective Group Counseling

In the effort to improve schools, one major thrust that is too often ignored by administrators and teachers is to improve counseling and guidance services to encourage personal and career development.

Several studies report that the Adkins Program provides an "Effective Group Counseling" solution that is both an efficient and effective way of helping students with the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of career choice.

Who Uses the Adkins Program?

The Adkins Career Program has been used successfully with at-risk and other youth to facilitate career choice and planning in special high schools and community agency programs. These programs include:

  • programs to prevent dropout, help the at-risk student, or provide extra motivational experiences for the passive student
  • programs run by Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for high school dropouts
  • programs for incarcerated youth
  • programs to prevent teenage pregnancy
  • programs for foster children
  • school phobia programs

The Adkins Career Program is also used effectively with:

  • the non-college bound (non-skilled, semi-skilled, skilled, clerical, lower managerial occupations)
  • the college bound (especially those with no idea of their occupational goals and limited confidence)
  • those in school-to-work-transition programs
  • students in alternative high schools

Schools and agencies using the Adkins Program report that students like the way the small group is used to maximize peer learning and the way in which the interesting learning activities provide new knowledge and experience to facilitate exploration and decision-making.

Supporting Research

In an Urban League program designed to help young African-American males and females between the ages of 16 and 19 who were out of school and out of work acquire Employability Skills (using the Adkins Life Skills Program as its core curriculum ) 77% of 257 participants in the Adkins Program obtained employment, compared to 20% for a group that did not participate in the program.

Joseph, R. Youth Employability Skills Program of the Urban League of Essex County.

[ MORE RESEARCH ]       [ TOP ]

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Outcomes of
Urban League
Skills Program