(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Youth Alliance is bringing a new program to the city with the help of a $1.1 million grant from the Missouri Department of Labor. The new program, Youth Build, is centered around helping young adults gain employment in healthcare and construction fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in healthcare and construction will account for one-third of all new jobs by 2020.
The Youth Alliance is currently taking referrals for young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 who dropped out of high school. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who drop out of high school make an average of $220,000 less in a lifetime than students who earn their high school diploma.
Houston Roberts is a case manager at Youth Alliance, he works with youth trying to get back on their feet.
“They [clients] feel maybe in some cases if they have friends who graduate and then go off to college and they may feel like they failed because they were unable to do that,” said Roberts. “Just because you didn't go to a four year state university that doesn't make you failure, there are awesome opportunities here in St. Joe that's why we brought this program here.”
The Youth Build Program is set up to help participants earn their G.E.D. then become a Certified Nursing Assistant or pre-apprenticeship certified for a position in a construction trade field like plumbing, carpentry, or landscaping.
Youth Alliance is partnering with Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph to provide construction work training through Habitats new House Builders Institute, or HBI. Youth Alliance says it plans to put 40 participants through a 24-month training. They’ll require the participants to work about 35 hours earning their G.E.D and learning their trade skill at Habitat to resemble a work week.
“We are really trying to set them up for the long term to have successful lives and be economically independent and be able to support a family one day if they want that,” said Roberts.
The Youth Alliance is looking to take in 27 participants for the CNA training. They are currently working on procuring a medical training team.
The two-week orientation for those interested in Youth Build is on June 24th, to sign up or get more information on the program call the St. Joseph Youth Alliance at 816-232-0050.