By Chris Fish
BREVARD - In an attempt to aid at-risk youth, the Brevard Community College's Space Coast YouthBuild Program is currently seeking its next class of 16 students to attain high school credentials.
To qualify for the class, applicants must be aged 16-24, not have a high school diploma or GED and be withdrawn from high school.
With a history dating back to 1988, YouthBuild USA has guided the development of an expanding national network of more than 225 YouthBuild programs throughout the nation, according to www.youthbuild.org.
Through these programs, low-income individuals ages 16-24 work full-time for six to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas, while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities, according to the website.
While earning their degrees, participants are also introduced to leadership development, community service and teamwork.
Today, there are 273 YouthBuild programs in 46 states, serving approximately 10,000 young adults per year, the website states.
Cosanne Mistretta, director of the Brevard Community College's Space Coast YouthBuild Program since March 2008, said by helping these 16 students obtain a high school credential, it will help them further their education or technical/vocational training toward future employment.
"It gives a second chance to those wanting to make a change and develop a positive life," Ms. Mistretta said. "This is not just a GED program. This is a program to go beyond to post-secondary education, whether that be college or vocational training."
Students will be selected through a process, which includes interviews and participation in an unpaid orientation.
Due to the recent receiving of the three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, 65 students will be served during the period.
Once the 16 students have been selected, Ms. Mistretta said there will be two phases of training, consisting of six to 12 months studying for a GED, while working with Habitat for Humanity, and then a follow-up phase, where the student will either transition into training for a career or further their education.
To apply for the course, applicants must contact the Brevard Community College's Space Coast YouthBuild Program by Oct. 25.
"We are very excited to be getting started with a new class," Ms. Mistretta said.
For more information, contact Amy Andrews at (321) 433-7383 or Cosanne Mistretta at (321) 433-7477.