Indian River State College (IRSC) received a $1,399,999 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to support its Building Fort Pierce YouthBuild program. The program provides education and occupational skills development for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 so they may find gainful employment in the construction industry sector, as well as the construction-plus targeted industries such as information technology and logistics. IRSC is one of only six Florida grantees awarded in the most recent round of funding.
IRSC’s Building Fort Pierce YouthBuild program will serve three cohorts of 25 participants (75 students) over two years. Youth split their time between vocational training and the classroom, where they prepare to earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree. The program includes significant support systems, such as mentoring, follow-up education, employment, and personal counseling services to support. The program seeks to prepare participants for community leadership and post-secondary training opportunities such as college apprenticeships and employment.
Completers will receive credit toward a post-secondary certificate in Building Construction Technology, Information Technology (IT) or Logistics and those who enroll in college at IRSC will receive three credits paid toward their selected career pathway. Subject matter experts from industry, certified trainers from Habitat for Humanity, or professional contractor members of the Treasure Coast Builders Association complement and support instruction and construction tasks.
As part of the program, participants in the IRSC Building Fort Pierce YouthBuild program will apply their new skills in construction by providing community service through required construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their neighborhoods. They may also participate in related community service projects—in 2018, YouthBuild program participants worked alongside licensed contractors in all phases of building a tiny home for a St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. Students receive training stipends, transportation and uniforms while they are participating in the program.
IRSC started its YouthBuild program in 2017. A grant awarded by the Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Workforce Investment at the U.S. Department of Labor funds 75% of IRSC’s program. Non-governmental sources finance the remaining 25%.
There are 210 YouthBuild programs in more than 40 states.
To learn more about the program, visit irsc.edu.