The Latin American Youth Center has provided literacy services to low-income immigrant and minority residents of the District of Columbia for more than thirty years.
During this time, we have gained broad experience and expertise in working with people for whom English is a second language.
Before I discuss our current efforts at WISE, I want to just briefly note our track record of providing GED preparation, job training and job placement services.
Over the past ten years, we have operated several successful programs that have focused on GED preparation, job readiness and training, and job placement. These include YO, which LAYC operated between 2001-2005 as a partner with the Department of Employment Services, and YouthBuild, which, after ten years as an LAYC program providing construction training and a GED curriculum, opened its doors last fall as a public charter school.
Through these programs, we were able to achieve very high rates of job placement and retention. In addition, according to the GED testing office at the University of the District of Columbia, during the past three years, LAYC has had one of the highest city-wide success rates in preparing young people to pass the GED.
We used that experience to create WISE in 2005, which builds on the best practices and learnings of our previous programs.
WISE provides young people with the necessary education and skills to obtain and retain meaningful employment and to pursue post-secondary education, if they wish.
We offer a holistic program of job readiness and life skills training, job placement services, computer instruction, GED preparation, and support services.
Our focus is on helping students define and then achieve their academic and employment goals.
We work with a highly diverse population. WISE participants are between the ages of 16 and 24.