Launch supports the young adults of Boston, helping them go back to school, find long-term work, and pursue fulfilling careers.
United Way’s Launch disrupts intergenerational poverty by increasing awareness among 18-24-year olds living in subsidized housing of available education and career pathways, and improving their access to opportunities for upward economic mobility through a coordinated network of service providers. Funded by MA Department of Housing and Community Development, United Way partners with the Boston Private Industry Council, Jewish Vocational Service Boston, and Metro|Housing Boston, to deliver high-quality outreach and individualized coaching to support young people in creating and achieving their education, training, and career goals. Using housing as a platform for recruitment, Launch partners with local housing authorities and managers of subsidized housing to coordinate outreach and align with their community engagement goals. Launch brings integrated outreach, triage, intake, assessment and common core services to a population that has been historically underserved.
Launch is guided by three core values:
- Anti-racism: Launch is rooted in the truth that racism and structural oppression not only exist, but deeply impact the way Launch clients are able to engage in career pathways and Launch coaching. United Way and the program partners are committed to making Launch anti-racist using strategies of team professional development and continuous improvement.
- Youth Voice & Choice: Launch recognizes that young adults can identify their own goals, name the barriers to achievement, and generate solutions for themselves. In outreach, coaching, placement, and persistence – youth voice and choice are at the center of the client experience.
- Connective Tissue Between Systems is Imperative: Launch serves as the connective tissue between housing, education, and employment systems to support clients in navigating their options for career. Launch is not an end destination for young adults, Launch is a stop along the career path of a young adult.
In the first two years of implementation, from September 2018 through August 2020 Launch achieved the following:
- Over 2,000 young adults made aware of Launch services through documented conversation, mailings, and phone calls
- 500 eligible youth completed an interest form
- 390 young adults have enrolled in Launch and received individualized coaching
- More than 100 clients have been placed in a job
- Over 80 clients enrolled in high school, HiSET/GED, college, or vocational/job training program
Launch can help you with
- Career Navigation
- Job Placement
- Financial Literacy, Financial Aid & Credit Building
- Social services
Meet Our Coaches
Amanda Shabowich – Launch Project Manager at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Amanda is at Boston Day and Evening Academy, a co-facilitator of the Boston Community Action Team, and a Youth Transition Funders Group Fellow in the Economic Well-Being working group. Amanda has spoken about her work across the country, as well as designed and led workshops on the importance of amplifying youth voice through storytelling, self-care for opportunity youth, designing inclusive youth programming, and inter-generational relationship building. In 2017 she was recognized by Mayor Walsh and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions for her local and national leadership.
Bobby Brown – Career Navigator-Project Manager at the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)
Bobby has worked in case management with opportunity youth for 3 years now – some of that time spent working in the Denver area. A Boston native, he is happy to be back home now where he continues working with young adults to re-engage them in their education, further their career, and assist in alleviating barriers through connection to community resources. His passions include hiking, camping, reading, video gaming, drinking too much coffee, and chatting about philosophy.
Fred Gomes – Outreach Manager, Boston PIC
My name is Frederick L. Gomes Sr. I am a 47 years of age and was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. I am a contributor by nature and so I’ve always been involved with jobs that offer some form of service. I’ve dedicated about half of my life to the social services industry and for that, I feel fulfilled and grateful for my contributions. For Launch, I oversee outreach in Boston and I work at the Boston PIC. In this role, I have the pleasure of being the first person our young adults will meet before joining Launch begins to support and offer love to our participants.
Kayla Albury – Education Coach at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) Boston
Kayla graduated from Bridgewater State University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Before joining our Launch team, Kayla was a mentor for the 100 Males to College program supporting male high school students of color achieve their goal in attending college. She has a passion for helping others succeed and guiding young people towards accomplishing their dreams. In the future, Kayla would love to create her own program providing support and access to resources in the juvenile justice system to empower young adults and to bridge an equal opportunity for success! One fun fact about Kayla, she is a black belt in karate!
Joseph Hoskowitz – Launch Career Navigator, JVS Boston
Joseph completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology at Thiel College and completed his Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology at Marymount University. “Coaching is important to me because it is a way I can give back to others. I enjoy being a guide that allows others to find success in their life journey. I love all kinds of sports (hockey is my favorite). I hope to one day travel to Japan, learn another language, and paint creatively in my spare time.”
Blake Taylor – Outreach Specialist at Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)
My name is Blake Taylor! I am a Boston native having grown up all over this city. I am currently finishing a bachelors degree in anthropology and political science at UMass Boston! I began my career as a Help Desk technician in Information Technology, and I went on to establish a career in health information and housing policy. What I like the most about Launch is the teaching environment offered! It feels good to be able to learn skills while using the one you have attained, and everything feels collaborative and open.
Yailin Victoria – Launch Coach, LHAND
Yailin recently graduated from Salem State University with two degrees. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences in International Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Yailin has worked with youth for about 5 years. She has been with the Launch program since November of 2018 and really enjoys providing guidance to others towards their dreams. Yailin enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures. She will soon be pursuing an education in the Psychology field!
Zeida Santos – Launch Coach, Boston PIC
Zeida Santos is a Career Coach at The Boston Private Industry Council (PIC). The PIC’s mission is to connect the City’s youth and adults with education and employment opportunities that prepare them to meet the skill demands of employers in a changing economy. In her role as a career coach with the Launch program, Zeida supports young adults throughout the process of applying, enrolling, and attending college as well as finding training or employment. Zeida Santos has a Master’s in Applied Linguistics from UMass Boston and a certificate in workplace education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Zeida Santos has vast experience working with young adults as an ESL instructor in college, and as a career coach. Mrs. Santos believes that working with young adults is a wonderful way to be part of the future.