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In tandem with Foster Care Awareness Month in May, Raley’s and iFoster celebrated one year of partnership in an hiring program by hosting 1,000 young adults at the River Cats game at Raley Field, in the grocer’s hometown of West Sacramento, Calif., last Saturday. The event marked the largest group of foster youth ever assembled for such an event.
“We are expanding to other companies and regions as quickly as we can to meet demand, both from foster youth seeking permanent employment and employers seeking pre-qualified, eager-to-work talent,” said Serita Cox, executive director of iFoster, a Truckee, Calif.-based nonprofit organization that provides resources to members of the foster, adoptive and kinship communities, and to youth who have emancipated, or “aged out,” out of the system, as well as to organizations that aid them.
Over the past year, Raley’s has hired 17 foster youth, with several more candidates currently being considered. Further, 10 companies have joined the grocer in employing foster youth who are aging out of the system, resulting in gainful employment for more than 100 candidates in Placer and Los Angeles counties, with a 100 percent hiring success rate and a 90 percent retention rate through their first six months on the job. Another nine companies are in the process of joining the program.
“It’s a win-win for the youth and business,” said Mark Foley, Raley’s SVP of human resources and labor relations, of the program. “Providing employment opportunities to these young people is enhancing our workforce with dedicated, hard-working employees who in turn inspire their fellow team members.”
Many emancipated foster youths lack a supportive network of adults. Within the first two to four years after aging out of the system, an estimated 50 percent of these young adults are unemployed, 70 percent are on public assistance and 50 percent will experience homelessness.
Raley’s operates 122 stores in Northern California and Nevada under four banners: Raley’s Supermarkets, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source.