Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) is pleased to announce an important new partnership with the Treasure Coast Division of the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS). This partnership enables homeless youth and young adults, ages 18 to 23, to access SHCOE’s leading-edge online courses through CHS’s transitional living program.

Headquartered in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the Treasure Coast CHS serves more than 12,000 youth and their families each year in Okeechobee, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties. The SHCOE program is available to the 150 to 200 young adults who participate annually in the transitional living program.

“We work with two different groups,” said Nixalys Vega, Program Manager for the transitional living program. “One group is young adults who have aged out of foster care and become homeless once they leave state system. The other consists of students who are still in high school, but are homeless and struggling to obtain their GEDs or high school diplomas.”

Treasure Coast CHS’s transitional living clients reside in a youth transition center, located in Vero Beach, FL, where they complete their courses in an onsite learning lab. The program is also available to nonresidential clients, who can access their online courses from any computer.

“We work with these young adults to develop a life plan, based on an assessment that we conduct, that outlines the life skills they need to work on,” Vega said. “We want them to focus on their education, but as part of our program we also provide employment readiness training. We choose our training programs very carefully so we’re sure they meet our clients’ needs and SHCOE certainly does this. Instead of a GED, we can offer them the opportunity to get a real high school diploma along with a career certificate. The program is perfect for clients who plan to move on to college and also for those who want to enter the workforce.”

Vega said SHCOE’s 24-hour online availability is a big plus. “Whether they’re using our learning labs or their own computers, clients are able to work on their own schedules and are also freed up to earn income while they further their education.”