Green Opportunities accepting new students for free YouthBuild construction training program

Press release from Green Opportunities:

Asheville-based nonprofit Green Opportunities (GO) is recruiting 16-24-year-old Buncombe County residents for its YouthBuild training program, a tuition-free pre-apprenticeship program designed for out-of-school youth. GO’s next YouthBuild training cycle will begin on May 7, 2018 with a week-long program orientation.

GO was one of 77 programs from across the country to receive a YouthBuild grant from the U.S. Department of Labor last September. YouthBuild is a recognized pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, earn industry-recognized certifications for in-demand occupations, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.

“The YouthBuild program at GO is a unique opportunity for young people,” says Karen George, YouthBuild program instructor. “It’s really more like ‘Life Build’. I have watched students go from using a nail gun for the first time to being a leader on our construction projects. Through the YouthBuild program, the sky is truly the limit for our students.”

GO’s YouthBuild participants study the Home Builders Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (HBI-PACT) curriculum, learning construction and leadership skills while obtaining their GED® or high school equivalency diploma. While participating in YouthBuild, members will learn safety and first-aid, construction math, general tool knowledge, employability, building, carpentry, painting and finishing, and weatherization. The full-time program lasts for six to nine months, allowing participants to complete the HBI coursework at their own pace.

GO launched the first of three planned YouthBuild training cycles last November. Since then, members of GO’s first YouthBuild class have honed their framing and carpentry skills by constructing a chicken coop, and also broken ground on an arts pavilion in the Southside Community Garden. Two current YouthBuild students recently secured jobs in the construction industry, one as a carpenter and another as a metalworker.

On-the-job training and project-based experience are key components of the YouthBuild training model. GO’s next YouthBuild class will have the opportunity to complete the Southside Arts Pavilion project started by GO’s current students, as well as construct three single-family homes in partnership with the Asheville Housing Authority.

Participants who complete the program will graduate with a CPR/First-Aid certification, OSHA 10 certification, and a nationally-recognized HBI Pre-Apprenticeship Certification in carpentry. Students also receive personalized support services from an on-staff case manager, as well as assistance finding and securing employment.

A 2014 graduate of GO’s former Built Environment program, YouthBuild program coordinator Eric Howell is well aware of how a training program like YouthBuild can help students change course and thrive. “GO saved me from going down a path that I didn’t want to go down,” says Howell. “I love my job at GO. I’m able to help out others that are heading down a path that is unhealthy for them.”

To apply for the YouthBuild program, contact Eric Howell at or (828) 398-4158 x118. Visit to learn more. Training begins May 7th.

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