YouthBuild gives a second chance to Baltimore City youth who have dropped out of high school. We provide construction training and certifications, assistance in earning a high school diploma or GED, and job placement services. Each year, YouthBuild provides comprehensive services to 30 participants between the ages of 17 and 24. YouthBuild is a national model. The Department of Labor, YouthBuild USA, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City support our program.
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By the age of sixteen James Knight was supporting himself. Now that he is twenty-two and has his own family to support, the stakes are even higher. That is why he is pursuing a career in construction and joined Civic Works’ YouthBuild program to develop the skills he needs to achieve his goal. “I always wanted to do construction work,” he says, “I’m living my dream. To me, it’s more than an occupation.”
After only two months with us, James was excelling. He gained hands-on construction experience by renovating a house in a low-income community – he installed doors, painted walls and ceilings, waterproofed a basement, and installed a new bathroom sink, vanity and toilet. James became a Sherman Williams Certified Painter and earned his OSHA 10-hour Construction certification and Home Builders Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) Certification upon completion of the program.
James knows what he wants to do with his life and how he can make his dreams of a career in construction a reality. The skills and certifications he gainined through YouthBuild will be invaluable assets. James knows the road ahead won’t be easy but he is enthusiastic about his future. As he puts it, “It’s about how bad you want it.”
Photo credit to Craig Weiman.