YouthBuild Program Announces Graduation and 2012-13 Class Recruiting | Schools
IRD Gulf Coast:
IRD Gulf Coast and IRD Inc. announce plans for the upcoming graduation ceremony of their YouthBuild programs, and the launch of recruiting for the next class that serves at-risk youth who have dropped out of school.
On August 15th at 6 pm, students of the 2 programs will participate in a graduation celebration at the Long Beach Senior Center. These students have completed an intensive 9-month program that included job skills training, certification in NCCER construction and OSHA safety, and participation in the rehabilitation of 4 homes for low income families. These young men and women also received employment and life skills training as well as assistance in seeking employment, college admission or military service. Students also worked toward their GED through collaboration with the Gulf Coast Community College. Students also participated in more than a dozen community service projects, which are an integral part of the program: Long Beach Downtown Beautification Project, United Way’s Alternative Spring Break, United Way’s Day of Caring, Good Deeds Center food preparation, Presbyterian Grace House clean up, Harrison County Humane Society donation center, and the Martin Luther King Day Parade. During the program, students also earned a stipend based on attendance and other performance measures.
“This is our fifth graduating class, and we’re really proud of the students who prepared themselves for livable wage employment that will benefit them and their families for years to come,” commented Lori West, IRD Gulf Coast’s Executive Director. “In addition to YouthBuild, our Workforce Training Institute recently launched Café Climb, a culinary job training program for at-risk youth and a market-rate café,” added Ms. West.
Beginning immediately, both YouthBuild programs, which are managed in the same Gulfport facility, have begun recruiting students, ages 16 to 24, for the next class. Those interested in applying should call 228-867-5600 or 228-864-6677, or come to 1223 30th Avenue, Gulfport, to complete an application. Class selection begins August 15.
“Last year, we had 500 applicants for 64 slots. So, I urge young men and women to apply now before all of the openings are filled,” said Stephanie Mathes, Program Operations Director.
Those who are selected for program will be co-enrolled in both YouthBuild, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, and AmeriCorps, which is funded by the Mississippi Center for Volunteer Services. Applicant orientation begins August 15, and the next YouthBuild program will start on October 1.
The program includes OSHA safety training as well as construction training in the classroom, in the workshop, and at sites of homes that will be rehabilitated. Students spend half of their days in construction training, and half in GED preparation, tutoring, life skills-employability training, and in community service projects.
Each student is required to prepare an ‘individual development plan’ that outlines their career and personal goals. This ‘IDP’ is used by the program’s career counselor to motivate the students and measure their progress toward achieving their goals. The program provides mental health counseling, and assists students address issues related to parenting, substance abuse, and involvement in the judicial system.
“YouthBuild provides students with the support and structure they need to change the direction of their lives and start on a positive career path. Over the last 5 years, I’ve seen some remarkable transformations among our students. I know that positive change is within the reach of anyone with a commitment to improve themselves,” added Ms. Mathes.
IRD Gulf Coast (www.irdgulfcoast.org) is a Mississippi non-profit charity and community development agency that provides workforce training, housing development and disaster recovery services in the Gulf Region with a focus on South Mississippi. In partnership with local and regional organizations and donors, IRDGC builds sustainable, community-based programs for low income residents. IRDGC recently initiated Café Climb, a culinary training program for at-risk youth, a public café and a social enterprise. Started in response to Katrina by IRD, Inc., a global disaster recovery organization, the agency became a 501 c 3 organization in 2010 and is governed by a Board of local community leaders. In 2012, IRDGC became an affiliate of IRD Inc.
IRD Inc. (www.ird.org) is a non-profit humanitarian and development organization dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people. Responding to Katrina, IRD Inc. initiated significant programs in 2005 to address the needs of South Mississippi residents, with a special focus on rebuilding and rehabilitating housing and providing job training to at-risk youth through the federal YouthBuild program. Over a 7-year period, IRD Inc. completed over 700 housing projects and served over 11,000 residents through its case management and human services programs, and continues to operate its YouthBuild program to serve Gulf Coast youth.
Information source: IRD Gulf Coast.
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