142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Inner-city young adults in a workforce development program: The intersection of employment and social support

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Terrinieka Williams, PhD , Population Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Meghan Rimelspach, MSPH , Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Center for Adolsecent Health, Baltimore, MD
Christopher Martin, BA , Center for Urban Families, Baltimore, MD
Winston Philip, BA , Center for Urban Families, Baltimore, MD
Nan Astone, PhD , Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Background: African-American young people who reside in inner-city communities are at heightened risk for negative mental and emotional outcomes. The goal of this study was to explore the extent to which a workforce development program could address mental health needs among young adults living in Baltimore, Maryland. This study was carried out in partnership with the Center for Urban Families, an organization whose central focus is chronic unemployment and family instability.

Methods: Life history interviews were conducted with 20 African American graduates (ages 18-24) of a workforce development program. More than half of the participants had completed high school, but 40% were not employed at the time of the interview. Over one-third had a history of incarceration. All qualitative data were analyzed inductively using a qualitative content analytic approach.

Results: Participants extensively discussed the presence of early life stressors. Familial substance abuse and limited financial resources were described as primary vehicles for disappointment, crime and unachieved educational aspirations within their families and neighborhoods. Both informational and emotional support from the workforce development program were described as critical assets in participants’ ability to recover from problems.

Conclusions: Early life stress exposure can have far-reaching consequences for health and well-being across the life span. Through social support, workforce development programs have the potential to address both employment and mental health needs, especially for people who have grown up in inner-city neighborhoods.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Identify the mental health needs of inner-city young adults. Describe opportunities to address mental health needs through workforce development programs.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am committed to developing, conducting and evaluating effective community prevention interventions for urban, underserved adolescents and their families. I have extensive experience conducting community-engaged research and using qualitative methods to address issues with African American young people and their families.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.