Youth Skill Building & Employment Training

Partnership with the Department of Youth Services


Comprehensive Education Partnership

Commonwealth Corporation partners with the state’s Department of Youth Services (DYS) and the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) to ensure that youth and teens committed to the Massachusetts’ juvenile justice system have access to high-quality education and employment opportunities.

With our partners we establish, communicate, and disseminate a set of core standards that define program quality in DYS residential programs. We support programs in meeting these standards through assessment and technical assistance strategies that are part of a continuous improvement process.


We’ve created Empower Your Future a series of curricula designed to help young people develop academic/technical, workplace readiness, and personal/social competencies needed to be proactive, resilient, and adaptive as they transition back to school or work in their communities.

For more information on Empower Your Future, visit their website.

Arts InFusion

Arts InFusion is working to expand and integrate the arts into the academic and extracurricular programs for all youth in DYS residential facilities, and build a network of arts-related placements available to DYS youth as they transition back into their home communities. Arts InFusion builds upon youths’ non-cognitive skills such as critical thinking, perseverance and optimism, and develops communication and social skills. The program provides youth the opportunity to ‘showcase’ their talents, creations and voice to an audience beyond their residential setting through a culminating performance and/or celebration. This celebration happens each year at an annual youth showcase, “Share Your Art, Share Your Voice.”

Workforce Development

We offer programs that support young people in their transition back to their community and help them attain the skills required to find a job.

L.E.A.D.: Leadership, Employment, and Advocacy Development (formerly “The Bridging the Opportunity Gap (BOG) Initiative”) is an initiative to support positive youth development through community engagement by providing work readiness opportunities and employment activities.

Grantee organizations serve as part of a web of support to youth while youth take the lead on learning about and pursuing a career pathway of their interest. LEAD will provide employability training opportunities that will provide youth real word experiences to practice their self-advocacy and self-awareness skills. Youth will build relationships with supportive adults and peers as they gain leadership, employability, and life skills to move into market employment.


  • Youth become leaders in their own employment goals
  • Youth serve as leaders or guest speakers to other youth in the program and/or in public speaking opportunities


  • Youth participate in workplace tours
  • Youth explore employment through job shadows and mini-internship experiences
  • Youth successfully complete a longer-term paid internship
  • Youth gain market employment


  • Youth learn how to advocate for themselves in the workplace
  • Youth develop advocacy skills to speak to employers about their specific needs.
  • Youth utilize advocacy skills with caring adults.