Youth Advocate/Career Specialist

Job Type

Full Time




New York
United States


Organization Description

Friends of Island Academy (Friends) was founded in 1990 to anchor, support and develop capacity among young people newly released from jail in New York City. A pioneer in adolescent reentry services, Friends builds on connections developed with young people while in custody, and leverages those relationships to provide post-release, neighborhood-based supportive services. Young people become members of Friends and develop personal milestones and goals in the arenas of health and well-being, education, employment, youth leadership and community participation.

Position Background and Description

Friends is seeking committed, passionate, creative and youth-focused professionals to staff and help implement a new Career Services Center designed to prepare recently released young people (16-21) for work and career pathways. Through funding from the Mayor’s Jails to Jobs initiative, the Career Services Center will increase the likelihood of sustained pathways to economic independence among the youngest people released from jail. The Career Center will provide comprehensive, mission-led, youth-focused career support services including work readiness/preparedness, career exploration and pathway development, linkages to internship opportunities and employment, connections between learning and work and will grow the interest among private sector employers to offer opportunities to youth.

The Youth Advocate/Career Specialist will join a team of Friends Youth Advocates based in the community and work with recently released youth to facilitate their engagement with the world of work and support their employment needs – from job readiness to short and long term employment goals.

Essential Responsibilities

Provide career coaching and job readiness preparation to recently released youth

  • Conduct regular individual and group sessions for youth participants focused on work readiness and self-awareness as it relates to employment and careers and on building the soft skills needed to obtain and sustain an employment opportunities;
  • Help participants build and refine resumes;
  • Match program participants with potential internship and employment opportunities based on skills, aptitudes, and interests;
  • Provide individual and group employment coaching;
  • Maintain on-going contact with youth as well as with other Friends’ staff working with them;
  • Track and maintain data for all youth participants in ETO, Friends’ participant database.

Identify and cultivate internships and employment opportunities for justice-involved youth

  • Conduct active employer outreach/marketing to develop short-term labor, paid internships, job shadowing opportunities, and permanent employment for youth;
  • Maintain on-going contact with program participants, employers and potential employers;
  • Proactively promote job retention through support and advocacy;
  • Connect youth to post-release neighborhood-based employment and training services, as appropriate.

Participate in Friends’ community-based advocacy team

  • Participate in weekly case-conferencing sessions as appropriate;
  • Help organize and build Friends’ Community Meetings and other activities;
  • Support other youth needs as time permits;
  • Travel between borough based offices as needed to meet with youth participants and advocates.



  • Two years of experience youth and young adults who are systems involved (i.e. juvenile justice, child welfare, etc.);
  • Two years of experience working in a community based setting providing work readiness support, job training facilitation, or teen programming;
  • Integrity, flexibility and a profound commitment to the youth we serve;
  • Committed to working collegially and in a team-based setting;
  • Experience/training in youth development;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and an understanding and belief in strengths-based youth development philosophy;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and other business software; experience with data tracking/entry and report development;


  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Experience in education, conflict resolution, and/or counseling;
  • Experience with or understanding of trauma-informed practices;
  • Bilingual;
  • Experience in program start-up and/or working in a secure/custodial setting strongly preferred.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

To apply, please send resume and cover letter (Microsoft Word or PDF format) as attachments in an email to Gina Lee at with “Youth Advocate/Career Specialist” in subject line.