Students from the YouthBuild Public Charter School (PCS) will build construction skills and gain valuable experience at Daffodil House under a newly signed agreement. Three teams of 12 students will alternate construction shifts at Daffodil House under the direction of a skilled construction trainer with more traditional classroom education at their school. Funding comes from the innovative YouthBuild program of the U.S. Department of Labor. YouthBuild PCS is located in Washington, DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood two blocks from Daffodil House.
“This is an interesting partnership because we can offer the opportunity for students in a local school to build construction skills, while they rehab the six apartments on the top floor of Daffodil House,” said Steve Seuser, Executive Director. “This partnership helps us significantly reduce the construction costs for the project, so YouthBuild PCS and their students are making very important contributions.”
YouthBuild PCS serves young people ages 16-24 who have dropped out of traditional high schools. At YouthBuild, students transform their communities by building housing for homeless or low-income families as they learn the construction trade, and they transform themselves as they prepare to earn their GED. YouthBuild PCS opened in 2005 as an outgrowth of an effective program begun in 1995 by the Latin American Youth Center in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.
At YouthBuild PCS, most students enter the school with limited reading skills, and about a third speak limited English. The goal is for students to complete their high school education by attaining a GED and develop marketable skills in construction and general life skills that will prepare them to find and keep jobs. Staff provide personalized support – mentoring, counseling, child care and housing assistance, and other services as needed. By building or renovating housing for low-income residents, students gain a sense of satisfaction that they are making meaningful contributions to their community. For their efforts, students earn a stipend to help meet family commitments and defray transportation costs.
Students leave YouthBuild PCS with significant successes under their belts. On average, two out of three graduates increase their reading proficiency two or more grade levels. Four out of five graduates secure jobs, apprenticeships, or pursue higher education within three months of graduation.
For more information about YouthBuild PCS, contact Arthur Dade, Executive Director, at (202) 319-0141.