The Innovative Concept Academy Is Recruiting This Spring

One-of-a-kind school offers at-risk young adults a second chance through education

​The Innovative Concept Academy, a one-of-a kind school located in St. Louis, Missouri, is recruiting students to join its classrooms for education training and job placement help.  Because of a recent grant award, ICA is particularly looking to recruit youth in St. Louis City or North St. Louis County, age 16 to 24, and who have a juvenile record but no adult record.  Youth will have the opportunity to obtain a high school degree, GED, or Workforce credential, or job training skills and certifications.

“Our goal at ICA is to increase the opportunities for youth with juvenile records,” said Esther Williams, Assistant Vice President of Program Services at MERS/Goodwill and Innovative Concept Academy representative. “We can offer them a broad array of employment-focused services, several of which provide monetary and other performance-based incentives that will help ensure safe re-entry for youth in our community.”

The education training and job placement programs provide assistance to not only get a high school diploma, or GED, but the ability to obtain a particular certification in a field of interest. These certifications, which ICA may pay for on the youth’s behalf, include automotive, certified nurse’s assistant, commercial driver’s licenses, environmental tech certifications, and medical assistant and patient care technical certifications.

ICA is the only school in America overseen by a court system dedicated to the education and rehabilitation of delinquent teens.  Frustrated with seeing juveniles leave his courtroom only to return to the streets and a home life fraught with problems, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Jimmie Edwards opened ICA in the fall of 2009. With no education or job skills, delinquent teens will likely face a life of cycling through courtrooms and jail cells.  ICA offers a chance to break that cycle.  With a full curriculum of math, science, English and history, along with extracurricular programs, ICA’s students are given their first real chance at changing course and building a productive, meaningful life. 

The Saint Louis Public Schools, MERS/Goodwill and the Family Court-Juvenile Division have a mutual interest in serving St. Louis at-risk youth in a manner that recognizes and responds to the risk factors present in the community that may otherwise negatively impact the lives of these youth. The three organizations entered into a collaborative partnership as governing partners in the creation of a one-stop service center for St. Louis youth.  The goal of the center is to increase the protective factors available to these youth which are aimed at eliminating at-risk behaviors that negatively impact the St. Louis community.

For more information about this exciting opportunity for St. Louis’ most at-risk youth and how you can get involved, please call 314-436-3540 or the website.

About MERS/Goodwill

MERS/Goodwill changes lives through the power of work. Its vision is a community where each individual has the opportunity to learn, work, and achieve their greatest potential. Annually serving more than 69,000 individuals, the non-profit agency operates in 75 locations serving 89 counties in the bi-state area. Revenues from 43 Goodwill stores assist with funding MERS/Goodwill job training and employment services. MERS/Goodwill is a proud member of the United Way. For more information about MERS/Goodwill or to find a Goodwill donation center near you, call 314-241-3464.      

Source: MERS/Goodwill