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Eight students graduated from the Worcester YouthBuild Program, operated by Training Resources of America, Inc. (TRA), Thursday morning, September 8, 2016 at TRA-Worcester, 2 Foster Street, Worcester, MA. Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) and Representative James O’Day (D-West Boylston), along with family, friends and the TRA staff joined in the celebration.
The graduates, ages 19 to 24, include: Angel De Jesus-Morales (20), Xristian I. De Jesus (19), John Ho-Luu (22), Jordan Martinez (21), Shane Dyquawne Mulhearn (21), Alexander Collman Tayler (24), Yvan Tiako Tiako (22), and Konstantinos Tziarbas (21) all of Worcester.
Addressing the graduates, Program Manager Doug Daigle said, “You never let us down, you always showed pride in your work, and most of all you displayed tremendous character. Today, be proud of your past seven months in the program, because we are proud of you. Think about who you were, and be proud of whom you have become.”
“Pride” was a theme echoed by graduation speakers including: TRA President Kim Harmon, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, and Representative James O’Day. The Legislators have been ardent supporters of Worcester YouthBuild and presented the graduates with Senate and House of Representatives' Citations.
Worcester YouthBuild provides comprehensive training to young people ages 16 to 24 that meet low-income guidelines, are not in school, have not received a high school diploma or High School Equivalency, and demonstrate a willingness to work hard for personal and community change.
Students receive instruction in High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation, self-esteem, life, leadership and work readiness skills, community service opportunities, and construction skills training utilizing a community housing rehab or new construction project which helps create quality low-income housing in Worcester. Extensive support services include counseling/ case management, job development/ placement assistance, as well as transition to higher education and follow-up services.
In addition to attaining their High School Equivalency certificates, the young people also earn OSHA, and Home Builder’s Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (HBI-PACT) certificates. Most of all, the program offers opportunities for personal growth and development. According to graduate Konstantinos Tziarbas, “Within my first week at Worcester YouthBuild I knew this was the program for me. I wanted to get my diploma, but needed to do it at my own pace. It took me three months to achieve what previous schools told me I would never achieve…my High School Diploma. I am now working full-time delivering Polar products and I love it. Getting that first big paycheck was one of the best feelings in the world. I couldn’t have done this without the help of the YouthBuild staff. They helped me through the entire process and I know that I can count on them if I need anything else in the future.”
This year, Worcester YouthBuild partnered with Main South Community Development Corporation (MSCDC) where students learned carpentry skills through a variety of rehab projects, including the reclamation of a 14,000 square foot building at 1 Kilby Street which will eventually become 7- 13 apartments for veterans and low-income families. Additionally, Worcester YouthBuild continued its long-standing partnership with building materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain through the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and with support from the Saint-Gobain family of companies who provided financial assistance and volunteers to teach Science and Math in the YouthBuild classroom.
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