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YouthBuild Indy offers young people a path towards a construction career

Employ Indy says this year more employers than ever before are on board
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Posted at 9:26 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 21:26:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A group of young people in Indianapolis are getting a second chance at not only their education but their future careers.

"I really wanted to do better for myself and make my mom proud," De'Angelo Huggins said.

Huggins is part of this year's YouthBuild Indy program.

De'Angelo Huggins is hoping to complete YouthBuild Indy and get a construction job.

Participants in the 18-week program can earn up to $6,300 while also earning their high school equivalency. They get hands-on construction training with a local employer and a certification recognized nationally to land a construction job. Classes are being held at 37 Place Community Center.

"Felt like I needed to get back right and get my high school diploma or equivalency," Huggins said.

Melvontay Elliot is also taking part in the program. He had to drop out of high school after dealing with mental health issues caused by the loss of a loved one.

"I always been, you know, lazy... I feel like this is a push for me," Melvontay Elliot tells WRTV's Nicole Griffin.

"I feel like it's something very needed, you know, it could push you different ways you know, it can inspire you. It's inspiring to me and I'm only three days in," Elliot said.

YouthBuild Indy is a program for 18-to-24 year-olds that are disengaged from the workforce or disconnected from education.

"Give them an opportunity to earn a home, give them opportunity to buy a car, give them the opportunity to live the life they want to live, and they'll start making choices that are consistent with maintaining that lifestyle," Rodney Francis, Chief Programs Officer with Employ Indy said.

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YouthBuild Indy participants are in phase one of the program which focuses on mindset & earning their high school equivalency.

Over the next 10 years, Francis said it's estimated there will be around 70,000 available construction jobs in our region.

"It's also profoundly important for our community, because they need to work, and we need talent in the economy, to keep the economy going," Francis said.

Recruitment for the next session of the program begins in February.

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