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LVJUSD's YouthBuild program offers 'second chance' to disadvantaged youth

YouthBuild is designed for youth, ages 16 to 24 who have faced some kind of setback, socio-economic challenge or disadvantage that created an obstacle for them to complete their education.
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Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) is working with more than 25 community partners and the U.S. Department of Labor to launch YouthBuild, an educational program for Tri-Valley students who did not complete high school.

YouthBuild is a "second chance for success" opportunity for youth, ages 16 to 24 who have faced some kind of setback, socio-economic challenge or disadvantage that created an obstacle for them to finish their education, LVJUSD officials said.

In addition to those who did not graduate high school, the program will also include a percentage of students who are currently enrolled in an alternative education high school.

Set to kick off in late November, LVJUSD YouthBuild Project HOPE (Hosting Opportunities to Promote Employability) will consist of six-month sessions where participants will re-engage in academic work that supports their passing of the General Educational Development (GED) test or completion of their high school degree, district officials said in a statement.

The program also consists of a pre-apprenticeship that will include hands-on construction work with local, low-income housing developments, and culminate with an industry-recognized certification.

"This program offers teachers and mentors for educational support, trade certifications, hands-on experiences, practical life skills, and job placement," said LVJUSD YouthBuild program director Steven Martin. "To top it off, LVJUSD YouthBuild is also a paid pre-apprenticeship program. The classes are free, and students will also earn a monthly stipend for regular attendance and participation," he added.

Officials said the goal of this type of learning experience is to equip students with marketable knowledge along with life and leadership skill development to help prepare them to enter the workforce and earn a living.

"I can already see ways that the school district is going to be able to learn a lot about this process," Martin said. "We've always had Career Technical Education programs, career counselors and other things but I'm intrigued now -- when you partner with a jobs program -- what the possibilities are and the doors that can open up because of these collaborations," he added.

LVJUSD has provided office and classroom space for YouthBuild at its Maintenance, Operations & Facilities Department building on Ladd Avenue near Junction Avenue K-8 School, according to Martin.

Among the community partners that are helping bring the program to fruition are the city of Livermore, Las Positas College, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group and Eden Housing, along with others.

Martin also said they've partnered with the Building Trades Council of Alameda County's nonprofit group Construction Trades Work Initiative (CTWI) to help provide the curriculum that will produce the industry certification for the pre-apprenticeship and help transition students who complete the program into full apprenticeships.

LVJUSD received a three-year, $1.5 million competitive federal grant from the Department of Labor to help fund the YouthBuild program, which will serve young adults from Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin and other neighboring cities. Community partnerships and LVJUSD will provide an additional 25% of the financial and in-kind support to champion the program, officials said.

"When young people succeed, we are strengthened as a community. It’s inspiring to see our local agencies come together to provide this opportunity to students in need of a second chance," said LVJUSD Superintendent Kelly Bowers.

More information about YouthBuild is available at livermoreschools.org/YouthBuild




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Cierra Bailey

About the Author: Cierra Bailey

Cierra is a Livermore native who started her journalism career after college as an editorial intern with the Pleasanton Weekly in 2014. After attending graduate school at Syracuse University, she’s back as the editor of the Vine!
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