Overseen by Bureau of Employment Skills Training and Youth Services, an office within the Department of Recreation and Youth Services, Operation Transformation Rochester (OTR) serves city youth and adults by offering five comprehensive programs geared toward education, vocation and employment. These programs work in tandem and are designed to be adaptable to an individual’s skill level, background, and needs. The following is an overview of each program component.
Adult Employment Services
OTR Employment Readiness
Open to adults ages 18 and up
The Employment Readiness program is a job skills curriculum designed to assist individuals currently seeking employment and or to enhance their employability. The program connects job seekers to area employers, the City of Rochester, vocational opportunities, as well as specialized training programs geared towards middle-skilled jobs.
OTR Fresh Start
Fresh Start assists men and women seeking to become self-sufficient, through referrals, placement, and follow up services. Participants are matched with staff and mentors for guidance and support to overcome barriers.
Youth Development Services
OTR Summer of Opportunity Program
Open to youth ages 14-20
SOOP is a summer employment placement and training program designed to connect high school youth with local employment opportunities and expose participants to the basic skills necessary for career success. For more information, visit
OTR Dream BIG2
Open to youth ages 14-16
Dream BIG2 is a 15 week program that encompasses a holistic approach to leadership and charter development through the following enrichments: College Preparedness, Employment Training, Motivation, Civic Responsibility, Conflict Resolution, Youth Leadership, Finance, and Etiquette Training.
OTR Youth Employment Training
Open to youth ages 14-18
Youth Employment Training prepares high school students for employment through an intensive 20 hour, job-readiness boot camp. Participants receive employment training and opportunities for subsidized, year round job placement, and graduate with a portfolio, resulting in increased employability.
OTR SOAR Youth Leadership Team
SOAR Youth Leadership Team is comprised of 13-18-year-old youth from the community that meet weekly to receive leadership training, self-development tools and increase knowledge & awareness around sexual health. The team is trained in the SOAR education curriculum for the purpose of co-facilitating education programming as peer educators. Participants will engage in activities to explore their future goals in areas ranging from career and college exploration to public speaking and life skills. The SOAR Youth Leadership Team members gain knowledge, experience, and direction to aid in their personal development by facilitating teaching of the curriculum to other students, participating in speaking engagements at tabling events, and participating in College Tours and panel discussions. The SOAR Youth Leadership team is continuously working toward improving their lives and the lives of the youth in their community.
OTR SOAR Education
SOAR implements two NYS Evidence-Based education programs, “Be Proud!” “Be Responsible!” and “Making Proud Choices”. “Making Proud Choices” is an eight-part curriculum for youth ages 11-13 that helps to provide the knowledge, confidence, and skills necessary to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted disease (STDs), HIV and pregnancy by abstaining from sex or using condoms if they choose to have sex. “Be Proud!” “Be Responsible!” is a six-part curriculum that provides adolescents ages 13-18 with the knowledge, motivation, and skills necessary to choose the best behaviors to reduce their risk of pregnancy or contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Both curriculums are based in a foundation of building positive self-image, developing leadership skills and mapping out a course for a successful future through planning and healthy choices. The curriculum is delivered by our trained health educators within Rochester City School District classrooms as well as groups, teams and throughout our partnering agencies city-wide.
Open to youth ages 11-14
T.H.R.I.V.E stands for Teens Helping to Reinvent Identity, Values and Empowerment. The program is a service learning program that focuses on life skills, volunteering and issues related to the social and emotional health of adolescents. There are group discussions about values, relationships, sexuality, communication skills, goal-setting and decision-making. These discussions are youth-lead with certified adult facilitators providing guidance. Participating youth will also complete at least twenty (20) hours of youth-led community service projects. The program also includes a work readiness program that focuses on the skills and behaviors needed to find and keep a job, including portfolio design, proper behavior in the work place and interviewing skills. For more information, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/thrive.
Flower City AmeriCorps
Flower City AmeriCorps was born out of the Governor's Anti- Poverty task force that focuses on economic opportunity, education and, healthy futures. This AmeriCorps program is a partnership between the City of Rochester Department of Recreations and Youth Services (DRYS), the Rochester Public Library (RPL), and community agencies whose focus is on anti- poverty services in Rochester. For more information, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/americorps.
Call 585- 428-6342
Download an application