Housing Authority of Northumberland County (HANC) Partners with Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) To Launch YouthBuild Program

Milton, Pa.- The Housing Authority of Northumberland County (HANC) recently announced a partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) to launch YouthBuild, a grant-supported program that helps young people rebuild their lives while they develop the skills needed to rehabilitate or build affordable housing in their communities.

The national YouthBuild program was initiated in Harlem, New York in 1970, and has served more than 92,000 young people and produced more than 19,000 affordable housing units in 45 states to date. In fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor provided $120 million in funding for programs operating multiple years. The Central Pennsylvania YouthBuild program, now one of 273 in the United States, will be based in Shamokin.

"Our goal is trainees graduate from YouthBuild with credentials that will make them more marketable in the construction field, with a clear direction for their life and with electrical, finishing, and other construction skills that will have value regardless of their career path, " said Rachel Smith, Assistant Director for the CPWDC. "The program also helps participants develop a sense of ownership in their life and within their community."

Steve Roush, Chairman of the Board for HANC, added, "For each new building project we initiate, we buy all of the materials locally in an effort to support the local economy. We’re improving the housing stock, while at the same time serving as a training ground for at-risk youths."

Program participants, or trainees, include young adults, ages 18 to 24, who have dropped out of high school and lack the necessary education and skills to participate in the labor market. To be one of the 20 to 22 individuals selected for YouthBuild, trainees must pass an interview process, as well as a two-week BASYC (Building Adult Skills for Youth in Construction) orientation program.

Once selected, trainees spend 30 hours per week for six months working toward the program's graduation requirements. Trainees divide their time in the classroom participating in GED preparation and other academic skills training and learning construction skills while rehabilitating or building homes in Shamokin and Coal Townships.

Trainees also complete group and individual service-learning projects to find additional ways to serve their local communities and have the opportunity to earn their Career Readiness Certificate powered by WorkKeys.

A total of three Central Pennsylvania YouthBuild programs will be offered during the grant period. Youth adults who are interested in participating in the January 2011 classes should contact YouthBuild at (570) 644-6575 for more information.

Central Pennsylvania YouthBuild is a collaboration between the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), which serves as the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB); Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. (CSO), a local Community Action Agency; and the Home Builders Institute, the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders.

Central Pennsylvania YouthBuild and the Housing Authority of Northumberland County (HANC) have a common interest in creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income families. HANC provides the work site on which trainees learn construction skills. In exchange, trainees provide the manpower to rehabilitate the homes that HANC will make available to low-income residents in the community.

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