Larkin Street Youth Services is pleased to present our most recent In Brief report, a publication series that highlights successful interventions that put homeless youth on a permanent pathway off the streets and out of poverty. This issue, Closing the College and Career Readiness Gap for Homeless Youth, focuses on Larkin Street’s Learning Centers.
Larkin Street’s Learning Centers were created to address and support the specific needs of homeless youth disconnected from formal education and mainstream employment systems. This model combines academic preparation, experiential learning, mindfulness practice, and industry-based career exploration in an intensive six-month program. The goal is to provide youth with not only basic education and job readiness training, but a fundamental understanding of a particular high-demand industry, enabling them to deepen their critical thinking, develop practical skills, and discern a clear pathway toward future education and potential careers in that sector. Infused throughout this model is a positive youth development approach that builds on youths’ strengths, fosters positive relationships among peers, and provides the support needed to build their leadership skills. By concurrently addressing wellness, life skills, and college and career readiness, the Learning Centers provide youth the tools, support, and stability they need to be successful in school, work, and life.