The first step in DJJ's evolution of education and workforce development programming came in October 2013 when the Agency opened the Career Readiness Center (CRC) in Columbia.
The mission of the Career Readiness Center is three-fold:
1. Equip justice-involved youth with soft skills and job readiness skills required to get a job.
2. Expose them to different occupations, careers, and education opportunities.
3. And most importantly Assist them in maintaining employment as well as their pursuit of higher education and a career path.
Developed in collaboration with community partners, the CRC provides ongoing education and employability support services to DJJ youth on probation, parole, or in committed status ranging primarily from ages 16 to 22. This is part of the agency’s prevention and intervention efforts. The CRC is a multi-use facility that houses classroom and meeting space designed to provide amenities that enhance the learning experience. The facility is equipped with video conferencing, video projection, smart-board technology, and a conference room for meetings and other training. A major goal of the CRC is to provide training to as many youths as possible regardless of where they are physically located in South Carolina.
What We Offer
With a focus on work-ready students aged 16+, the Career Readiness Center offers services in the following areas:
- Employment/Career Support
- Soft skills training
- Application and Interview assistance
- Education Support Services
- GED and Tutor coordination
- Financial Literacy
- SC DMV ID & Permit (age restrictions apply)
Career Readiness Center’s Community Partners
The CRC has partnered with numerous federal, state and community partners to provide opportunities for education, training, credentialing, and employment. If you would like more information on how you can partner with the Career Readiness Center, please reach out to Elizabeth Morris at ElizabethPMorris@djj.sc.gov or (803) 896-2359. Your assistance with educational, training, and employment services is vital to our youth’s success.
SCDJJ and SC Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) have a long-established collaborative relationship to ensure treatment and services are started at DJJ facilities and continued once a youth is released back to the community. SCDJJ and VR have created a Work Ready program that offers juveniles the opportunity for employment while in DJJ custody. Juveniles primarily work on their assigned facility, with a few earning the opportunity to work at VR’s West Columbia training facility.
The SC Department of Juvenile Justice has partnered with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles to provide official SC Identification Cards and Beginner’s Permits to our students. CRC staff are authorized to administer the beginner’s permit exam and assist with the completion of ID card and permit applications. The SCDMV has waived all costs associated with the issuance of state Identification Cards for DJJ’s youth.
The Career Readiness Center and Job Corps have created a partnership that offers juveniles another pathway to earn their GED and professional training in high-demand career fields. Job Corps staff have presented to DJJ’s juveniles throughout the state, and numerous youths have had the opportunity to tour the campus at Bamburg, SC.
The South Carolina State Library has become a vital source of information and assistance for the youth that the Career Readiness Center serves. Through DISCUS, South Carolina’s virtual library, youth can sign up for free tutor assistance through Tutor.com, supplementing their education from DJJ’s tutors. Through DISCUS, juveniles can access career exploration services and an extensive list of free applications that may be used for research and education.
The SC Works center provides services such as career guidance, job referrals, and testing and training to meet the needs of jobseekers, employers and those looking to further their careers.
CRC has partnered with military recruiters throughout the state to provide informational presentations and recruitment services for youth that are interested in military service. Additionally, the DJJ and CRC have formed a partnership with Department of Defense Military Entrance Process Station at Fort Jackson which allows agency-involved youth to participate in Career Exploration Program-ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Attitude Battery).
Beginning in 2023, CRC has partnered with Bank of America’s Black Professional Group. Working to assist students with the basics of banking, tips for managing money including balancing wants and needs, understanding the role of credit, and the importance of protecting financial information through a program called “Better Money Habits.”
CRC staff maintain communication with Michelin personnel as well as numerous staffing agencies to discuss job opportunities for current and former DJJ youth. Through employment with Michelin, young workers can earn a base income of $12.50 per hour, with opportunities for bonuses all the way up to $16.50 per hour. Those with outstanding restitution payments became able to make regular payments toward satisfying that debt.
Boeing, which operates a facility in Charleston, provides guest speakers to SCDJJ campuses to speak to youth about the aerospace industry and STEM career opportunities at Boeing. Students have also toured the Charleston facility to see STEM careers firsthand.
Through E.A.R.N (Empathy, Attitude, Respect, Knowledge), a DJJ volunteer provides employment readiness skills to youth at all SCDJJ campuses. Companies seek to hire new employees who possess soft-skills and can enter the workplace capable of communicating effectively. Teens and young adults entering the workforce today are rarely trained in these skills. This workshop equips students with interpersonal and communications skills to help open doors of opportunity, enable them to be successful in business, and empower them to be engaged citizens for their community and the world.