YouthBuild program taking applications

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:16 p.m.

If working on your GED while learning a trade and earning some money sounds appealing, then consider Project YouthBuild for eligible youth ages 16-24.



* What: Project YouthBuild is accepting applications

* When: Now for program starting in January

* Where: 408 W. University Ave., Suite 112

* Information: Call 352-213-0566 or visit

And applications are now being accepted for the program that starts in January.

Rachel Gillis, program manager, said YouthBuild offers an intensive seven-month program that provides youth ages 16-24 who lack a high school diploma and meet income requirements and other criteria with an opportunity to study for their GED, build and rehabilitate low-income housing, earn nationally recognized construction certifications and develop leadership, life and employability skills.

She also said students can earn up to $120 per week in a stipend, which is based on attendance and participation.

After graduation, students are assisted with job placement and may become eligible for a college grant.

Gillis said Project YouthBuild is a program under the Institute for Workforce Innovation, which is a nonprofit organization in North Central Florida with a mission to improve the community's quality of life through education, employment and advocacy. Project YouthBuild is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and a grant from AmeriCorps, a federal program.

Gillis said Project YouthBuild has a lengthy and competitive application process that includes a panel interview and a mental toughness week, where students get to sample the program.

"The students sample the program and decide if they want to pursue it, and it helps us with the selection process," said Gillis, adding that applications are being accepted now for the program that starts in January, giving students an opportunity to complete the lengthy process.

Applications are available by stopping by Project YouthBuild at 408 W. University Ave. Suite 112 or calling 352-213-0566.

Gillis said students are dual-enrolled in the Santa Fe College Adult Education Program for academics and spend half the day in academics and the other half of the day in on-the-job training in construction doing such things as refurbishing housing units for the Alachua County Housing Authority.

Students attend the program from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and are provided with uniforms, boots and hard hats. Transportation may be provided through RTS bus passes.

Gillis said students learn basic plumbing, electric, carpentry and minor construction and they also receive instruction in leadership development and have mentors and an opportunity for weekly internships.

"Project YouthBuild gives them the opportunity to completely transform their lives to being an active contributing member to society," Gillis said.

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