In Los Angeles, Mental Health Meets Workforce to Increase Access to Youth Peer Support
The Center for Law and Social Policy’s (CLASP) mental health work has consistently shown that young people strongly prefer to receive support from peers and to receive support in trusted community-based settings, including youth workforce development programs. This blogpost from CLASP highlights a promising program aimed at young adults in Los Angeles (LA) County that will launch in the summer of 2023. It will bring together two sectors that are often siloed: workforce development and mental health services. LA County has 14 Youth CareerSource Centers that serve as hubs for youth workforce development programs. As part of this new program to support mental health, each center will recruit 3 to 5 young people ages 18-24 to participate in a peer youth support certification program. The partnership between the youth workforce system and the county-level mental health system in LA County demonstrates an expansion of mental health care for opportunity youth enrolled in workforce development programs, while also building career opportunities for young people who want to provide much-needed support to their peers.