‘YouthBuild’ program will launch later this year

Program is led by Workforce Development Council

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Up to 60 at-risk Clark County youth will get a helping “hand up” and support with academic and construction skills training from a group of nonprofit organizations that banded together and recently received a $1.1 million YouthBuild Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Led by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, the group includes Partners in Careers, Innovative Services NW, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity, Vancouver Housing Authority and WorkSource.

“Youth unemployment is high in our region and these funds will enable us to provide opportunities for youth to complete their high school education while learning construction and other skills that will help them throughout their work years,” said Jeanne Bennett, SWWDC’s chief executive officer. “We anticipate a need for additional construction workers in the near future and this program will give our youth the training they need to compete for these jobs.”

Vancouver YouthBuild will launch later this year and help at-risk youth obtain high school diplomas or GEDs and learn construction and other work-related skills through academic trainings, on-site work experiences and community service activities. Participants will also have access to apprenticeships and industry certifications in the construction trades as well as transitional housing opportunities through the Vancouver Housing Authority.

The program will culminate with the youth building two energy-efficient homes for low-income families enrolled with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity.

The YouthBuild Vancouver project will serve 45 to 60 disadvantaged youth, ages 17 to 21, who are low income, high school dropouts, and those that would otherwise be at risk of failing to reach key educational and career milestones.

The grant is part of $73.6 million in YouthBuild grants the DOL will award.