SP’s YouthBuild ‘Posibilidades’ to focus on youth construction skills

February 11, 2004
Santa Paula City Council

Santa Paula will be the site of a new charter school concentrating on giving area at-risk youth construction skills.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paula will be the site of a new charter school concentrating on giving area at-risk youth construction skills.The City Council heard of the plan at the Jan. 20th meeting where Marsha Rae of the Ranch at Santa Paula, said YouthBuild would offer “auspicious educational opportunities” through a collaborative agreement.Greg Boyd of Santa Paula Development Partners LLC, said YouthBuild is a comprehensive, national youth and community development program, as well as an alternative secondary school serving disengaged, at-risk youth (male and female) aged 16 to 24YouthBuild offers a 12 month program includes education to complete either a high school diploma or GED, job training in the construction trades, case management and counseling and leadership development.Known as “Posibilidades,” the program will target its resources at economically disadvantaged youth from the Santa Paula area, aged 16-24, who have not completed high school. Youth with language barriers, emancipated foster care clients, dependency court and probation referrals as well as gang members will be the focus of the program.Based on the attrition experience of other YouthBuild programs nationally, to achieve the goal of graduating 20 students at the end of year one, approximately 60 students will be recruited to enroll in the first class in September of 2004, noted Boyd.“This program is designed for all those kids who never had an opportunity to go to college,” he noted.
“Posibilidades” has garnered “tremendous support from labor unions,” Boyd said.Currently there are 200 YouthBuild programs, overseen by HUD, operating in 44 states.“There’s probably nothing more exciting than getting your first job and bringing home your first paycheck,” benefiting not only the wallet but self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment, Boyd noted.A board of directors has been selected and incorporation is expected next year, said Rae.The cost for each student is approximately $20,000 a year, “far less than the cost of prison or boot camps and under the cost of most good colleges,” she added.Although the city will be approached for a Community Development Block Grant for seed funds, HUD “customarily funds these programs,” with an initial investment of $400,000 and up to $700,000 a year thereafter.When “Transitioning from childhood to adulthood, having a dollar in your pocket is really empowering,” said Mayor Gabino Aguirre.

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