Detroit, Michigan— SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc., was awarded a U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild grant for $1,330,343.00 to continue providing Opportunity Youth in Detroit with critical academic skills needed to pursue meaningful careers, specialized training in the building trades, IT certifications, leadership and civic engagement skills. Opportunity Youth are defined as young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market.
SER YouthBuild Learning Academy (SYLA) has been a recipient of YouthBuild funds for the past 10 years and is regarded as one of the most successful programs in the region. SYLA has graduated more than 330 students out of which 264 completed their GED’s or received an industry-valued construction certification, 70 percent increased their literacy levels within the first three months of participation and 85 percent successfully gained meaningful employment with living wages and benefits. In addition to completing a high school diploma/GED or earning a construction credential, Opportunity Youth participate in building or the rehabilitation of affordable housing units for low-income residents. This experience builds students’ confidence and sense of commitment to the community, while developing the inter-personal and “soft” skills that they need to be successful. With the renewal funding, SYLA will train nearly 80 Detroit Opportunity youth who will receive a high school diploma or equivalency and industry-recognized credentials necessary for in-demand occupations.
“SER YouthBuild Learning Academy provides opportunity, a career pathway, education and a commitment to leadership development that can alter the trajectory of our participant’s future,” says Eva Garza Dewaelsche, SER Metro-Detroit President and CEO.
The SER YouthBuild program has maintained a long-term partnership with O’Brien Construction to complete on-the-job training opportunities at local housing projects. Participants will also be active AmeriCorps members during their time in the program and will work towards a $1,600 education award for post-secondary education. Over 65 students have received the award in the past, allowing them to pursue higher education degrees.