YouthBuild Wins Grant

Opportunities await those who are in the most need.

YouthBuild, an educational and job training program, was recently awarded $1.3 million, thanks to a grant from the Zanesville Metropolitan Housing Authority. The award includes $500,081 for the first year and an additional $401,177 based on congressional approval.

YouthBuild provides classroom and practical work experience to 16-24 year-old students without a high school diploma. Participants receive required hours of class work to brush up on basic reading and math skills. The students then engage in hands-on job training by constructing and repairing housing for low-income families in their own neighborhoods. In addition, they will also attend weekly seminars on job seeking and retention skills, resume writing, and interviewing techniques. Life skills such as nutrition, budgeting, credit counseling, health issues, and home financing are also included. In order to achieve a high success rate, YouthBuild plans to help students with day care, postsecondary education training, personal counseling services, and home intervention assistance whenever necessary.

YouthBuild will mentor 30 students. Eighty percent will reportedly improve literacy and math skills while 65 percent will earn a GED or diploma. 70 percent are projected to obtain jobs or a post-secondary education.

OCCN VISTAs Eric Lowe, Donica Beckett, and Candace Parsons were among those who helped to write the grant proposal that led to the funding. The VISTAs took a war room approach to discovering the elements, defining the problem and then suggesting solutions, pitfalls, and how to prevent them. In a three-day intensive exercise, the VISTAs' effort was to summarize and feed into the proposal at Zane State College, who combined our efforts with the proposals submitted over the last three years to HUD that were not awarded. The grant was fine tuned and submitted by Zanesville Housing Authority.

The YouthBuild grant was made possible by the Appalachian Center for Collaborative and Engaged Learning; One-Stop Career Center/Workforce Investment Act Policy Board; Community Build!; Mid-East Adult Center for Education; Zanesville Housing Development Corporation; Zanesville Civic League; Habitat for Humanity; Muskingum County Business Incubator; Zane State College; and Century National Bank.