Training Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Jobs in New Mexico

Authors: ada

Our friends from New Mexico YouthWorks are launching a new pilot program to train disadvantaged youth in green construction. The program is a collaborative between various partners, including Habitat for Humanity, Santa Fe Community College, and the Santa Fe Hombuilder's association.

Yesterday they "broke ground" on the first green home built through the collaboration.

Read the press release below.



SANTA FE, NM, APRIL 14, 2009: This April, Santa Fe is once again leading the nation in creating innovative solutions to our local problems from climate change to poverty. Our region is faced with high-drop out rates, low college enrollment and graduation, and growing numbers of New Mexicans looking for meaningful, family- supporting careers. “Training Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Jobs” (TTYTJ) is a pilot training program that will prepare local disconnected youth to work in green building while giving back to their community creating housing for families in need.

On April 14th at 11:00 am, the Santa Fe Homebuilder’s Association, the Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity, Oshara Village and Santa Fe ¡YouthWorks! will be joined by Representative Ben Ray Lujan, Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and representatives from SF County, City of SF and State OF NM to break ground on the first “green home” built through this collaboration. “At Habitat for Humanity, we hope to give families a hand up through owning a simple, affordable home,” says Maggie Monroe-Cassell, Executive Director of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. “Training young people is another way to give people a hand up in life. This new partnership is powerful in so many ways.”

Over three months, a group of contractors, led by long-time local builder Joe Gammon, will mentor and train twelve ¡YouthWorks! crew members in the entire construction process from the ground up. The young people will be enrolled in a specially designed Green Building Technologies curriculum at the Community College that will provide them with the basic groundwork for Construction Technologies Certification. The final product of TTYTJ will be a move-in ready house for a Habitat for Humanity family at Oshara Village, a nationally recognized leader in sustainable development.

"The Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association is excited for the chance to help YW youth build a home for a Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity family,” says Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer, Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. “Working with Habitat, Santa Fe homebuilders have learned what it means to give back and have your hearts touched by the gratitude of these well-deserving, hard-working families. We are excited to share that experience with young people while training our future workforce on how to be green builders and to learn good-paying green-collar job skills."

TTYTJ is supported through a grant from the NM Department of Workforce Solution’s WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) Program which funds “regional initiatives that integrate educational, economic development and workforce activities to promote talent development and economic transformation.” Through experiential vocational education for disadvantaged youth with a unique focus on sustainability, TTYTJ hopes to change the face of vocational education in New Mexico.

The City of Santa Fe recently passed the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan, a comprehensive guide to reducing our carbon footprint and making our community more resilient in the face of climate change. In one of the first steps, City Council passed Residential Green Building Codes on March 11, 2009 which will go into effect on July 1, 2009. By creating new standards for reducing the impact of residential buildings, these codes provide an important opportunity to upgrade the skills of the Santa Fe workforce. “Finally, it seems like the idea of sustainability is picking up momentum around the country,” says Melynn Schuyler, Executive Director of ¡YouthWorks! “We are committed to ensuring that the right investments are made to prepare disadvantaged young people to be leaders in these fastest growing sectors of the ‘green economy.’ ”

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