Courthouse Labor Deal on Target
By Clive McFarlane TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Worcester YouthBuild participants and the program's director, Michael Quigley, have a basic and successful economic formula by which they swear.
Skills plus opportunities to put those skills to work, they will tell you, most always add up to personal financial growth that can multiply a community's economic development potential.
They should know.
YouthBuild, through a longstanding partnership with St. Gobain, has for years provided low-income high school dropouts with the skills they need to solve the equation of a prosperous life. Through the program, these young people, 16- to 24-year-olds, participate in hands-on, construction skills training by building low-income housing in the community. The hands-on training is complemented with GED preparation, job readiness and leadership training.
"We have young people getting their high school equivalency certificates and building low-income housing in Worcester and the hope is when they leave here we will be able to place them in college or into a job," Mr. Quigley said.
"Last year, 60 percent ended up going to college. This year's group is different. Most will be looking for jobs."
Mr. Quigley is optimistic more than ever now that the city is better positioned for providing the job opportunities these young people will be seeking in the community. Much of that optimism is being underpinned by the Worcester City Council's continued commitment to policies that can potentially produce positive, palpable and immediate economic stimulus in the community.
The council reinforced that commitment this week, when it voted to approve the sale of the old courthouse building to Brady Sullivan Properties LLC for $1.2 million. As part of the deal, the company agreed to set aside 50 percent of the project's budget to hire contractors and subcontractors from the local community.
The nation’s mayors and county executives are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact - making our cities and counties better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country will participate in the third-annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 7, 2015. YWCA YouthBuild Springfield stepped up to play a major role in an important project in their community.
The project was a result of a request from Dream Studios, Inc. DREAM Studios Inc (Dramatically Reaching Everyone's Artistic Mentality) is a non-profit agency that was created to introduce community youth to the performing arts and to strengthen them academically. DREAM Studios offers after school programs and summer camps that focus on Drama, Vocal Training, Dance, Academic & Career Counseling and support groups for women, teens and youth.
Dream Studios hosts an annual Fashion Show that serves as a fundraiser for the organization. The director, Benjamin Smith, reached out to the YWCA YouthBuild Springfield program and asked for help in constructing a stage and runway for the fashion show. The YouthBuild members designed the runway, created a materials list, and constructed the entire project in sections so that it may be easily taken apart and used year after year.