Works Wonders Program

Peer to peer support that works!

Peer Supported Work Readiness Training.

One-on-One Job Coaching.

On-site Job Training.


Do work-related interventions like these help foster youth successfully transition out of care and into the workforce?



And that's what we set out to demonstrate with Works Wonders. Originally started as a research initiative funded through a Children's Bureau grant, Works Wonders tested ways to help Rhode Island's foster youth who have aged out of - or are about to age out of - state care succeed in the workplace. 

Stay tuned for the official evaluation results from our independent evaluators at Rhode Island College and the Workplace Center at Columbia School of Social Work. Click here to go to the Works Wonders Research Page. 

To achieve success, we implemented the following program model: 


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Foster Forward is proud to announce that with generous support from our funders, the full Works Wonders Program is now available to our youth ages 18-21 in the YESS Aftercare Program. We are also happy to announce that we now offer the E2 training to all youth who are served through the Transitional Education Program (Life Skills)! 

We provide skills training to participants.

Through their involvement in our Employment and Empowerment (E2) peer support training, young people spend 10-12 hours learning how to relate to others in a work setting, and developing important coping and communications skills. Led by our Employment Specialists, E2 trainings meet weekly and combine classroom instruction with peer-to-peer interaction. 

we provide one-on-one support from an experienced job coach. 

With weekly guidance from our Employment Specialist, young people develop a career plan, prepare for job interviews, build employment connections, and gain work experience through paid and unpaid internship opportunities, job shadowing, and/or information interviews. The Employment Specialist works for 12 weeks, to connect youth to educational and career pathways, and to help young people obtain gainful employment. 

Participants come away with the following: 

  • Understand how to relate to people in a work environment, including their supervisor and their co-workers, which is critical to succeeding int he workplace. 
  • Develop important skills, including how to communicate effectively and how to interact with others in a respectful and meaningful way. 
  • Identify their career goals and develop a plan to attain those goals. 
  • Obtain valuable hands-on work experience - and potentially employment - thanks to internships, job shadowing, and volunteer work. 

What's more, our findings may help organizations nationwide develop similar programs for young people in the child welfare system.  


Are you an EMPLoyer? You can help make a difference! 

In addition to helping future generations of workers, you can also help improve your bottom line! Ask us how!


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Works Wonders Materials

Works Wonders Participant Video Testimonial


Presentation to U.S. Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, March 2017. 

special thanks to funders for our NEW grant awards!!  

  • Works Wonders was just awarded a grant from Citizens Bank to help youth in foster care become financially capable as the connect to the world of work through Works Wonders! 
  • Works Wonders was awarded a grant from the Bank of America Foundation to help support connecting youth in foster care to paid work experiences.  
  • Works Wonders was recently awarded a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to help us double the number of youth who can participate in this program. With their support, we'll be able to double the number of young people we serve, helping to reduce barriers and create opportunities for financial success for more Rhode Islanders! 
  • Works Wonders was awarded in June 2016 a third year of the Innovations Grant from the Governor's Workforce Board! This Innovative Partnership Grant is helps support the development of skills and on-the-job training for Rhode Islanders.  

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