NEW YORK, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The YMCA of Greater New York has launched YouthBuild, a workforce development program, at its Y Roads Center in Jamaica, Queens to provide at-risk youth between the ages of 17 – 24 the opportunity to earn their High School Equivalency diploma while learning valuable vocational skills. A cohort of approximately 35 of the City's youth who are neither in school nor employed choose from four vocational training tracks: construction, building and facilities management, early childhood education, and sports and fitness.
In New York City, more than a quarter of a million youths between the ages of 16 to 24 are considered "disconnected": neither employed nor in school. The YMCA's innovative Y Roads Centers in Jamaica and the Bronx offer services from job training to counseling to empower disconnected youth to take control of their lives. YouthBuild, in partnership with the United States Department Education and funded by the Department of Labor, furthers the Y's commitment to meeting the needs of this demographic.
"Earning a high school diploma remains a critical step toward securing employment, and those without it are often left behind," says Nicholas Winowsky, Director of YouthBuild at the Y Road Center in Jamaica. "Through our partnership with YouthBuild, Y Roads can offer promising youth the opportunity to focus on getting the skills and credentials they need to forge a career."
Program participants will complete their High School Equivalency coursework and vocational training by March 2016. Throughout the program, participants receive a stipend, learn how to be effective and ethical community leaders and receive counseling to assist them with personal conflicts such as childcare, transportation, substance abuse and homelessness.
"The YouthBuild program was my second chance at life. I gained not only the high school equivalency that I needed but also technical skills that are necessary to have in today's economy," says Kevin Quiroz, former YouthBuild participant and current intern. "The program ultimately saved my life."
New York City Council Member I. Daneek Miller visited the Y Roads Center last week and said, "The Y Roads Center prepares the youth of Jamaica, Queens to go out and begin the next stage in their life. Each time I visit I am welcomed with positive energy and an impressive group of young people who are taking the right steps to make a change in their lives."
About the YMCA of Greater New York
The YMCA of Greater New York is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves New York City's health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In scores of neighborhoods across the five boroughs and its camp upstate, the Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower more than 500,000 New Yorkers to learn, grow and thrive. Visit ymcanyc.org. Follow us on Twitter @ymcanyc and Facebook at facebook.com/ymcanyc or visit www.ymcanyc.org.
SOURCE The YMCA of Greater New York