The 20th Annual YouthBuild Day at the State House Engages Students and Legislators to Get a Better Understanding of the Importance of YouthBuild
YouthBuild Day at the State House is always an exciting day for the students and staff at our 11 Massachusetts YouthBuild programs. This year was no exception, as the event took place in the House of Representatives Chamber for only the third time in the 20 consecutive years of this event. This day represents an opportunity for students to relate their stories to legislators and also to network with the other YouthBuild students from across the Commonwealth.
At this year's event, we were excited to hear the words, Ronald Walker, the new Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. Sec. Walker was very clear about the importance of the YouthBuild programs in developing work skills for the new workforce. We are very appreciative of the Secretary's words of encouragement and hope to develop a strong working relationship with him.
As always, our legislators were able to speak to the students. This year, Representative Gloria Fox, a familiar figure at State House Day welcome the students to the Chamber of the House of Representatives. Representative Fox's words were as always very inspirational for YouthBuild students. She encouraged them to be active participants in government.
Senator Sal DiDomenico, who represents several areas where YouthBuild students reside, also offered his words of encouragement. He praised the students' efforts in making this important change in their lives with a message of hope for their futures. Sen. DiDomenico has visited Just-A-Start YouthBuild serving Cambridge and Chelsea for other program events
Two invited guest speakers also had important messages for the students. Brian McPherson is the Director of Diversity at Suffolk Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the world. They have been working closely with YouthBuild Boston on projects in the city. Suffolk offers employment opportunities for young people once they complete the program.
Samuel Ackah is the Compliance Coordinator for the New Bedford Housing Authority. He described the ongoing relationship between the Housing Authority and YouthBuild New Bedford. They have been engaged in several ongoing projects and Sam also talked about employment possibilities at Housing Authorities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has identified YouthBuild participants as priority potential employees through their Section 3 requirement.
In addition to the program and the opportunity to meet with legislators, YouthBuild Day at the State House offers most of the students their first opportunity to view this beautiful building. Here, YouthBuild Fall River graduate and current staff member, Christian Berrios offers information on the history to current students in that program.