Youth Connect

Youth Connect provides guidance, support, financial assistance with vocational and academic training, work readiness and job placement services to low income youth.

Program eligibility includes economically disadvantaged youth and persons with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 24 who have dropped out of school, are ex-offenders, in foster care, homeless, pregnant or parenting, unemployed or underemployed and/or are basic skills deficient (must qualify as low income). Click here to learn more about eligiblity requirements.

The Youth Connect program is designed to provide services and resources aimed at helping youth to enroll and successfully complete academic or vocational training programs, develop leadership skills, prepare to enroll in post-secondary education or to enter employment.​

We provide academic and career assessment, counseling, assistance with developing a career plan and on-going support. Eligible youth will participate in the work readiness activities, gain work experience and job related skills. Based on initial needs, customers may also qualify to receive help with training-related costs and other support services.

Contact any of the Youth Coordinators for more information or stop by any CareerSource Pinellas center. General information can be found by calling (727) 524-4344.

For Pinellas County GED information, please contact Kim Hall, Youth Career Coordinator, (727) 400-1462 or
For South Pinellas County training information, please contact Jodi Schwartz, Youth Career Coordinator, (727) 470-7565 or
For North Pinellas County training information, please contact Sandra Contreras, Sr. Youth Career Coordinator, (727) 420-9532 or


  • Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling: The Youth Connect program strives to promote growth in each youth’s educational, personal, social, and employability skills. Career and Educational guidance and counseling services are provided by the Youth Coordinators. Students can also be referred to the partnering agencies if additional professional counseling or therapies are needed.
  • Case Management and On-Going Support: Our goal is to ensure our students are receiving the most appropriate and effective services to meet their educational and employment goals. Staff provides ongoing service coordination, monitoring and support throughout program participation.
  • Alternative Secondary Education Services: The Youth Connect program has partnered with the Career Education Services at Pinellas County Schools and will assist youth, who have not been successful in traditional education programs, to enroll in Adult Education Centers and to receive GED diplomas.
  • Leadership Development/Work Readiness: A broad set of activities that encourage responsibility, employability, teamwork, decision making, Citizenship and Self-esteem building are available for youth through the Youth Connect program. Types of the leadership development opportunities include: Work Readiness and Life Skills workshops, with the emphasis on work behavior, budgeting, time management and parenting, exposure to post-secondary educational opportunities, community volunteering, etc.

    The 8-hour Employability Skills workshop includes the following topics:
    • Interview questions and inactive interviewing
    • Dress for the job interviews
    • Assistance with Resumes and Cover Letters
    • Computer based employment search
    • Follow up assistance with the interview process

    Also, one-on-one resume and interview preparation assistance are available.
  • Occupational Skills Training Assistance: The Training services provided though the Youth Connect program may include: Technical or vocational training that will lead to attainment of the Educational Diploma or Certificate, Occupational License or Industry- recognized Certification; Pre-apprenticeship training to prepare for the apprenticeship training; or Internship.

    Selected training programs have to be on the local Targeted Occupation List (TOL).

    You can also review the Approved Training Vendors by clicking here.
  • Work Experience: Paid Work Experience is available through the Youth Connect Program to help eligible youth to explore the world of work and its requirements and to develop work readiness skills, while earning wages. On the Job Training services are intended to offer training in the actual work situation that allows youth to develop specific occupational skills or to obtain specialized skills required by an individual employer, gain work experience and to transition into a full time long term employment.
  • Supportive Services: Available Support Services include but not limited to the cost of the GED exam or industry certification, transportation, work attire or uniforms, tools or medical and drug screening. Support services are provided to the Youth Connect program participants to remove or reduce barriers that prevent them from successfully completing their training activities or securing employment.
  • Job Placement Assistance: Include structured pre-employment skills training, individualized job and life skills counseling, resume writing assistance, mock interviews, job referrals, mentoring and follow up services. Our staff is also working with local employers to prescreen possible candidates and facilitate referrals of qualified applicants.