By CLEVELAND TINKER
Special to the Guardian
A federally funded program that targets troubled youth ages 16-24 is now accepting applications.
Project YouthBuild, which is geared toward helping school dropouts and youth who are not on track to graduate from high school, is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities, such as housing, education, employment, crime prevention and leadership development.
And thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Florida Institute for Workforce Innovation has received $1 million to operate Alachua Project YouthBuild here in Gainesville.
Sex offenders cannot participate in the program.
The program will serve 32 youth for 10 months, from October through July.
Interviews for those interested in the program will be held on Oct. 16 and orientation will begin on Oct. 19.
Classes will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83rd St.
Those participating will work on construction and leadership skills in the morning and GED skills in the afternoon.
Thursdays will be dedicated to career exploration and leadership development, with speakers from the community giving the students “road maps for success,” said Carrie Tam, project manager for Alachua Project Youthbuild.
“The ultimate goal of the program is for students to get their GED and become certified with construction industry credentials,” Tam said. “We are looking for people who are motivated and who want to change the direction in which their lives are headed.”
Keira Simmonds will serve as the youth advocate for YouthBuild.
Her job will be to support the students in any way she can to make sure they have the resources needed to successfully complete the program and prepare for life after the program.
“I am very excited about being a part of this project because I have a passion for working with youth,” Simmonds said. “I hope a lot of people take advantage of this program.”
YouthBuild also will have a graduate coordinator, Michael McMahon, who will help students develop cover sheets and resumes. He also will teach job readiness skills. McMahon said he will help students explore what careers they are best suited for, and he said he will help prepare them to meet the challenges of getting the credentials they need to enter those careers.
“I am really looking forward to working with the students and helping them,” McMahon said.
Along with SFC, other agencies partnering with the program will include Habitat for Humanity, FloridaWorks and The Dignity Project, Tam said.
Tam also said students will spend one day a week working on homes being built by Habitat, and she said they will receive cars from The Dignity Project once they graduate from the program and have completed all of the requirements.
Tam said one of the best things about YouthBuild is that it teaches the importance of being a leader.
“The leadership development aspect of the program is outstanding,” Tam said. “It teaches how to give back and advocate for the community.”
For more information, call 352-244-5137.
There are no upcoming events.