Works Wonders™ Program

Peer to peer support that works!

Peer Supported Career Readiness Training.

One-on-One Job Coaching.

On-site Job Training.


Do career readiness interventions like these help youth in foster care connect to work?


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. 

Are you a youth looking for help exploring career options and connecting to employment? Click here to learn more and find out if Works Wonders™ can work for you! 

The results are in from the evaluation and we are excited to report that Works Wonders™ WORKS! Click here to go to the Works Wonders™ Research Page for more on the evaluation and additional materials that share lessons learned, provide context for this work in the world of policy, and discuss the cost feasibility of implementing this program in other jurisdictions. 


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

skills training.

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. 

individualized job coaching. 

With regular guidance from our Employment Specialist, young people develop a career plan, prepare for job interviews, and build employment connections. 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. 

work based learning opportunities.

Youth work with our Employment Specialists to develop a CareerEd Plan and then are assisted in identifying work experiences through paid and unpaid internship opportunities, job shadowing, and/or information interviews. These work experiences help young people to test the skills they have learned in the training in a safe environment. What's more, youth also obtain valuable hands-on work experience - and potentially employment that helps them move along their CareerEd path.  

Are you an EMPLoyer? make a Difference Today! 

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 Video Testimonials

Jose's Story


works wonders

Frankie's Story 


special thanks to our generous funders for Partnering to Bring Works Wonders to more youth in foster care!!


Foster Forward is pleased to announce that it's Works Wonders Program was awarded funds from the Governor's Workforce Board Real Pathways Program in June of 2017. These new funds will enable Foster Forward to bring career readiness and employment engagement experiences to an additional 70 youth who are in and who age out of the foster care system!  With our employer partners we are able to offer a wide range of hand-on learning experiences for youth that build their resumes, but more importantly build their confidence and skills so that they can succeed in the workplace.


  • Works Wonders is thrilled to receive grant support from Textron to help us serve more youth with career development and employment engagement support. 
  • Works Wonders was just awarded a grant from Citizens Bank to help youth in foster care become financially capable as they 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! 

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