‘Youthbuild’ seeking students for program

Published 10:16 am Monday, May 16, 2016

For any youth who does not have a high school diploma and is looking for a career change, Youthbuild Bogalusa is looking for you.

Youthbuild, the division of Northshore Technical College that provides technical training and HiSET certification, is now seeking applicants to its program. Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 24 and cannot have completed high school.

Michael O’Ree, a counselor with Youthbuild, said the program is an opportunity for young people to get their school certifications while also learning a skill. O’Ree said there could be legitimate reasons students didn’t complete high school, but his program offers a way to make it up.

“Sometimes it’s just mothers who have babies who had to leave school, sometimes they dropped out, flunked out or got kicked out,” he said. “There’s a lot of different reasons and some people had to leave school to go work.”

After the students complete the program, they will receive the HiSET, which is the state’s high school equivalency test. In addition, they will be certified in carpentry.

“They’ll get an NCCER certification,” O’Ree said. “That’s a carpentry helper, it says you have basic knowledge and skills about working in the carpentry field. They’re also able to learn a TCA, which is a step further than an NCCER.”

The NCCER is a certificate is through the National Center for Construction Education and Research, and as part of that coursework, students get trained in real world job skills.

“We did a Hazmat training. And we’ve got another training coming up soon as well,” O’Ree said. “By the time they leave Youthbuild, they should be in a good position to make it in the real world.”

In addition, the Youthbuild program also helps the community.

“It’s a great program and we hook them up with a mentor and they have to perform 450 hours community service,” O’Ree said.

This week, two Youthbuild students were fixing up a Habitat for Humanity home, and last month, on April 27, in recognition of Global Youthbuild Day, O’Ree said the students went all out for the community.

“We cleaned a senior citizen’s yard,” he said. “We went to the Bogalusa food bank — we went over there on Wednesday and we provided food for everyone who came up. We did the actual delivery and distributed it out.”

Perhaps best of all for the students, the students don’t pay anything for the courses.

“No, we pay them,” O’Ree said.

Besides fitting the age requirements, students must first take a basic test to qualify for the program. O’Ree said Youthbuild is now taking applicants, so anyone interested in testing can sign up now.

“We’re taking applications every day,” he said.

For more information, call Youthbuild at 985-732-6878 or stop by the offices at 1242 Austin St.