2019 marks the 21st anniversary of the Learn to Earn (LTE) program. LTE is an after-school and summer program designed to provide early workforce development, financial literacy, behavioral interventions, and social/cultural project-based activities while teaching youth civic engagement principles.
The KCK Youth Program, LTE, was founded in 1998 by the Parkwood Colony, Inc. Neighborhood Association to provide the most at-risk youth in our community with the basic principles necessary to ensure success in a traditional work/earn environment. In 2012, the Historic Northeast Midtown Association (HNMA) received its official designation by the Unified Government as the Neighborhood Business Revitalization Organization for the northeast-midtown area of Wyandotte County. In 2013, Parkwood Colony asked HNMA to assume the administration and management of the Learn to Earn program. The organizations now partner to facilitate and ensure the programs continued success.
In Learn to Earn, the children learn the principles that govern a person's or group's behavior on the job, including the right and wrong ways to interface with authority and co-workers, and resolve conflicts. They learn practical job skills and how to apply those job skill to produce certain outputs depending upon the business function performed. The children learn the value of self-determination and non-dependency for those things which they can garner themselves. Attendance, punctuality, and accountability for one's behavior and social etiquette are expected.
LTE consists of summer and after-school sessions. LTE curriculum includes soft skills training, social/emotional behavioral training, project-based learning, critical thinking, financial literacy, advocacy modules, and job placement at local businesses. Youth receive opportunities to engage directly with their community through project-based activities (e.g. art installations in Northeast KCK). At the conclusion of after-school and summer programming, youth receive a stipend as a reward for their commitment and work ethic. A portion of the stipend is deposited on their behalf to the Kansas 529 college savings program.
LTE provides youth with the tools to make good decisions and creates opportunities that build the intra-personal skills of resiliency and self-efficacy enabling them to overcome the effects of adverse childhood experiences and life situations.
Youth who complete LTE programming gain an understanding of team dynamics, goal-setting, community engagement/advocacy, emotional self-regulation, and basic financial literacy.