updated: 10/17/2007 8:25:13 AM

Funding Announced For Youth Skills Training

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indianapolis Private Industry Council has received a federal grant of nearly $550,000 to fund an initiative that will benefit high school dropouts. YouthBuild Indy is expected to serve 60 individuals over two years.

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Source: Inside Indiana Business

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Participants will be able to take classes to receive high school or General Educational Development diplomas. Participants will also learn construction skills and about occupations in other industries that are in high demand in Central Indiana.

The federal grant is expected to fund the first year of the initiative.

Press Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- As many as 60 disadvantaged youths who have dropped out of high school but wish to return and learn skills that will last a lifetime will have that opportunity, thanks to YouthBuild Indy, a new initiative of the Indianapolis Private Industry Council.

IPIC has been awarded a federal grant of $549,622 for the first year of what is expected to be a two-year initiative, with a similar amount expected after Congress appropriates money for the second year. The grant will enable 30 students a year to participate in a nine-month training cycle.

“YouthBuild Indy provides a new way of reaching young people in Indianapolis for whom, for whatever reason, traditional schooling didn’t work,” Mayor Bart Peterson said. “I’m sure that this approach, which has been proven to work in other cities, will make a difference in the lives of its participants and in the fabric of our community.”

Planning for YouthBuild Indy will begin immediately, with recruitment of low-income participants, ages 18 to 24, to follow in three distressed neighborhoods – the Near East Side, Martindale-Brightwood and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street – Northwest corridor.

Half of each class will pursue a high school diploma; the other half, a General Educational Development diploma. The groups will alternate weeks, Monday through Thursday, between the classroom, where they’ll be taught by Indianapolis Public School teachers who are experienced in working with former dropouts, and the construction site, where they’ll learn construction skills and use them to renovate four dilapidated houses that later will be made available to low-income and homeless families. On Fridays, the two groups will reconvene for team-building, leadership and life skills training, mentoring and other personal-development activities.

In addition to construction, students will learn about occupations in other industries that are in high demand in Central Indiana, with labor market information about the industries coming from studies IPIC conducted in 2006 and 2007.

“YouthBuild students will learn enough about construction that they’ll be prime candidates for pre-apprenticeships and other training programs that lead to a career in the building trades,” said Bob Palmer, chairman of IPIC’s Board of Directors and vice president and general manager of air, ground and freight services for the central region of FedEx Corp. “But we want to be sure that YouthBuild students are exposed to other high-demand industries too, so they can have meaningful choices after earning their diplomas.”

Students will be paid minimum wage for work and training conducted at the job site. They’ll be eligible for periodic increases, based on performance. A stipend will be paid for time in class and for Friday group activities. And students will receive $250 bonuses when they earn their diploma or GED.

After graduation, students will get help with job or postsecondary placement. Follow-up services will be provided by the Marion County WorkOne system, which IPIC oversees, in coordination with IPIC’s Youth Employment Services.

YouthBuild Indy is the latest of a broad array of youth-oriented employment initiatives undertaken by IPIC, the largest of which – Youth Employment Services – is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment.

Numerous partners have signed on to YouthBuild Indy:

-- The city of Indianapolis has committed to cultivate community-service and leadership opportunities for YouthBuild students through neighborhood beautification projects, as well as opportunities for internships, shadowing and jobs in city government. The city’s Department of Metropolitan Development has committed to donate four abandoned houses.
-- Indianapolis Public Schools will help to recruit and evaluate applicants, develop their individual education plans; pay for half the salaries of YouthBuild classroom instructors and administrators; cultivate postsecondary opportunities for YouthBuild students; provide classroom space for instruction; stage graduation ceremonies for YouthBuild graduates; and offer other assistance.
-- Lilly Endowment funds YES; YouthBuild participants will be enrolled in YES so they can access its “barrier-busting” vouchers.
The John H. Boner Center will provide administrative, personnel, transportation, training and support services.
-- Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana will make presentations on its degree-granting and advanced-training programs and provide YouthBuild students with student-shadowing opportunities and access to Ivy Tech’s self-paced remediation program.
-- USA Funds, an education loan guarantor, will provide $1,500 annually renewable college scholarships for YouthBuild Indy graduates who continue their education.
-- The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has committed its members to serve as mentors of or to provide job-shadowing opportunities and job placements for YouthBuild students.
-- The Central Indiana Labor Council, the Central Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council and the Indiana Plan for Equal Employment Inc. – along with the chamber – will assist IPIC with the design of YouthBuild’s occupational training curriculum and provide guest lecturers.
-- The Mind Trust, a non-profit organization that seeks to attract and support education entrepreneurs, will provide a cash contribution and technical and other support through its work with the Alternative High Schools Initiative, a network of 11 Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation-funded models that recently decided to work collectively in Indianapolis.
-- The Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis, a network representing 1,300 single-family-home builders and suppliers, will assist YouthBuild with locating builders, suppliers and supervisors to support the project and donate resources and materials; it also will promote YouthBuild graduates to its members for job opportunities.
-- The Marion County Health Department will conduct inspections and testing for lead, mold, dust, allergens and radon and will give YouthBuild students access to its certified lead-based paint inspection and abatement training and certification.
-- Shrewsberry & Associates LLC, an Indianapolis civil engineering company, will conduct interior environmental assessments of the houses and exterior site and civil engineering.
-- The Indianapolis Recorder will donate four quarter-page advertisements for recruitment purposes.

Source: Indianapolis Private Industry Council

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