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 September 10, 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 year. 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.
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.”
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.
Participating in on-the-job training opportunities, including building a covered pavilion and securing a paid welding apprenticeship, were highlights of the program for Eddie Green, who earned his HBI Pre-Apprenticeship certificate in early May. “It’s been a good experience, something I’d recommend other folks come and try,” says Green. “They introduced me to new people and things that I needed to move into the job.”
While Mr. Green already held a high school diploma when he entered YouthBuild last fall, the program staff helped him improve his math skills and successfully navigate new experiences, like opening a bank account and networking with potential employers. “If I didn’t go through this program, I’d be in the same predicament as before, still looking for a job. This program helped me strived to do a lot of things that I never thought I could do.”
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 a GO case manager, as well as assistance finding and securing employment. Additionally, they are eligible receive a small stipend to help them meet their financials needs while participating in the program.