Grant to Keep YouthBuild Going

July 17, 2013, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

By Kelly Urban, Tribune-Democrat

YouthBuild Johnstown will continue to help young people rebuild their lives.

Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies, which operates the program, received a three-year grant for $864,000 from the U.S. Labor Department to continue and expand its efforts.

The competitive grant was awarded to only 68 YouthBuild programs across the country.

Through YouthBuild Johnstown, Goodwill delivers a community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to individuals ages 17 to 24 in disadvantaged situations such as those who are of low income, lack a high school diploma or are aging out of foster care.

The classroom training component enables participants to earn General Educational Development certificates or other state-recognized equivalency diplomas. The occupational skills training component provides youth with hands-on training in construction or welding as well as industry-recognized certifications. YouthBuild also creates an income opportunity for participants as they earn $7.25 per hour building or rehabilitating affordable housing or performing on-the-job training in welding.

Phyllis Bandstra, Goodwill’s president and CEO, said through YouthBuild young people are learning skills that will take them into their future careers.

“We are excited to be awarded this grant and to explore additional skills training for the youth such as welding,” she said. “It’s a validation at the federal level that our services are effective.”

Goodwill was first awarded funding by the Department of Labor to operate Youth-Build in October 2007.

To date, 125 participants have received more than 26,000 hours of on-the-job training, performed nearly 2,500 hours of community service, rehabilitated 17 houses, constructed four new homes, deconstructed seven houses and renovated 64 apartments.

More than 60 participants have enrolled in community college or obtained employment in the construction and service industry.

In 2012, Goodwill provided $117,622 self-funding to operate YouthBuild, serving 55 participants, through revenue generated by its 10 Goodwill retail stores and donation centers and industrial contract services.

Information: 536-3536, ext. 291.


Copyright © 2013 The Tribune-Democrat

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