NEW ORLEANS — Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, New Orleans-area youth have the opportunity to earn money and scholarships while learning skills to aid in hurricane-recovery efforts.
Through the Louisiana Department of Labor’s Youth Career Development Project, 16-24 year olds with little or no work history can learn construction skills while rebuilding their neighborhoods or participate in environmentally friendly service projects that benefit hurricane-impacted communities. Participants began working on their projects in mid May, and spots are still available for qualified youth to join the groups.
Nationally, employment in the construction industry is experiencing a downturn. But in the New Orleans area, the sector added more than 2,000 jobs since April 2007. Statewide, the increase is 4,800 over the year.
“By training young people in high-demand industries such as construction, we can provide a supply of workers with the skills employers are looking for,” said Louisiana Department of Labor Secretary Tim Barfield. “This program fits in well with our goal to improve Louisiana’s workforce delivery system by quickly addressing critical employment needs.”
The project, which is overseen by the four New Orleans-area Workforce Investment Boards, is open to youth residing in Orleans, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.
“The Youth Career Development Project offers a unique opportunity for youth to earn wages, build employment history and gain the skills needed to further their educational and career goals,” said Senior Project Manager Cheryl Cramer. “We are currently enrolling participants and would encourage youth who would like to increase their skills while benefiting their communities to take a look at what we have to offer.”
National non profits YouthBuild USA and CorpsNetwork administer the training programs and operate through local non profits such as Associated Catholic Charities, Hope Center in Harvey, City of Hope in St. Bernard and Mary Queen of Vietnam in New Orleans East. YouthBuild USA and its subcontractors offer programs that teach construction skills with hands-on work building and repairing affordable housing. Participants working with CorpsNetwork and its subcontractors take part in three service projects aimed at teaching green, or environmentally responsible, job skills including landscaping and coastal restoration. YouthBuild USA programs run for seven months, while CorpsNetwork participants spend three and a half months in the program.
Participants are able to choose the program that best suits their career and educational goals. Both tracks encourage participants to further their education. YouthBuild USA participants are eligible to work on their GEDs or high school diplomas and receive job services through their local Business and Career Solutions Centers. YouthBuild USA and CorpsNetwork graduates also receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of up to $1,200 to further their education.
For more information or to enroll in the Youth Career Development Project, contact Cheryl Cramer at 504-364-5625 or visit www.job1no.com or www.myspace.com/ycdpgno. For a listing of Business and Career Solutions Centers, visit www.laworks.net.
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