The YouthBuild Little Rock program is designed to provide the city’s youth population with educational information, occupational training, and other resources to pursue opportunities in targeted career pathways.
Recruitment and Eligibility
The target recruitment and selection audience for Little Rock’s YouthBuild program consists of youth between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age. At least 75% of the participants are dropouts from high school; the other 25% are deficient in basic skills.
Eligible applicants for a new program cycle are recruited in through a four month timeframe, utilizing a variety of advertising avenues to reach the maximum amount of eligible youth throughout the targeted program area and a diverse population that reflects our local population. The Little Rock Workforce Center refers eligible young adults 16-24 years old in its job training programs to YouthBuild. Community partners, including high school counsellors, GED instructors and, other providers who work with low-income individuals, also refer applicants for consideration.
The YouthBuild selection process includes:
- Group information/orientation sessions to outline the program framework
- Interviews with prospective youth participants
- A Mental Toughness phase designed to assess and prepare participants for program activities
Little Rock’s YouthBuild Education and Occupational Skills component for participants operates for approximately 32 weeks each year. Participants spend 50% of their time engaged in academic education activities, 40% of their time on occupational skills development activities, and 10% of their time in community service/leadership development activities that connect directly to the classroom and worksite curricula.
The Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) assembles the necessary number, diversity and quality of partnering organizations to establish a solid YouthBuild program with a comprehensive program. The diverse organizational partners represent for-profit and non-profit entities, educational institutions (Adult Education, 2-year vocational college, 4-year university), local municipal and state-level government, labor unions, apprenticeship programs, and industry-related trainers.
YouthBuild Little Rock I, II & III
The Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) received an initial YouthBuild Grant in 2010 for $1.1 million to serve cohorts of 40 youth in obtaining a GED and industry recognized and accredited certifications. In 2015, the LRWDB received notice that the YouthBuild Little Rock program would be refunded at $720,000 to serve additional cohorts of 30 youth in acquiring a GED and industry recognized credentials in targeted career pathways.
Career pathways and associated certification include:
- Construction apprenticeship (NCCER)
- Weatherization certification (BPI)
- Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
- Commercial drivers license (CDL)
In 2017, the LRWDB received a grant for $900,000 to serve 50 youth and expand occupational training programs to home health care and industrial technician certificates.