In late July, the first group of participants began the Newport News YouthBuild program, a partnership between Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas and the City of Newport News. This innovative workforce development initiative provides education and helps young people in the city obtain employment in construction and other in-demand industries, including carpentry and maintenance, and pre-apprenticeships in plumbing, heating and air, and electrical services.
The program’s 11 students are currently in the “Boot Camp” phase, which focuses on leadership and academic training. Thanks to a partnership with the Peninsula Regional Educational Program, more commonly known as PREP, students are receiving training in digital and financial literacy and receiving leadership development instruction to prepare them for long-term career success.
Following Boot Camp, students begin construction trades training, which utilizes curricula developed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research. Participants earn industry-recognized credentials for demonstrating quality and safety control mechanisms of a craftsman in the construction industry. Participants receive intensive skills training in carpentry, electricity, residential HVAC and plumbing. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in Centura College’s Commercial Driver’s License program to receive a Class A operating license.
A key component of Newport News YouthBuild is community engagement. Volunteer opportunities teach students the importance of investing in the communities in which they live, while also building character, self-confidence and relationships. Participants recently volunteered at the Four Oaks Day Service Center and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, offering support and comfort to their neighbors in need.
Newport News YouthBuild is open to young men and women ages 16-24 who live in Newport News, with priority given to residents in zip code area 23607. The program lasts eight months, with follow-up support services for one year. Support services include career counseling, help during job searches and the application process, outreach to community businesses for placement, and more. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall program, with information sessions being held in October.
Visit www.voachesapeake.org/youthbuild for more information and to access the online application.