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INDIANAPOLIS — Registration is open for the government-supported program YouthBuild Indy. It teaches young people trade skills for a career in construction.  

The program is currently looking for members for its next cohort.  

The program is for students 18 to 24 who didn’t finish high school living within Marion County. 

In 14 weeks, they can learn the basics of construction and also other valuable skills to help them work towards a career. 

“It made a great impact on my life,” said YouthBuild Alumni Erwin Chavac. 

“This is not a job. It’s a skill and you learn a lot from it.” 

Chavac went through the YouthBuild Indy program and now works as a carpenter to help others. Before, he worked as a painter with his dad and says he doesn’t know where he’d be without it. 

“It kept me out of the streets. Keeping me out of trouble. Just keeping my hands busy. And I’m still learning stuff hands-on,” Chavac said. 

Program manager Troy Turner has been an instructor with the program for more than 15 years. 

“What we would like to do is give them a skill set that they can build on. Teach worth ethic, prepare them for the job market,” said Turner. 

“Minus the gray hair, it is not work. I’m passionate about these young men and women.” 

They teach them how to build and repair homes in areas that need it most. 

“We take the approach that we’re building young men and women while building our community,” said Turner. 

The program is funded by EmployIndy, the local workforce board for the region. It’s also supported by the Department of Labor. 

“It is a huge deal for our community and a huge opportunity for our young adults to really get on a career path that can lead to stability in their lives,” said EmployIndy Chief Programs Officer Rodney Francis. 

Turner also has his own construction company and hires YouthBuild graduates. 

Whether they work for him, another company, or even in another industry, the goal is to lay a foundation for success. 

“They will have a base-level understanding of what it takes to be employable. Arriving on time, putting forward the effort and if they don’t continue on with construction, we will aid them in their career path,” Turner said. 

Registration will be open through the weekend, and orientation is Monday. The cohort is scheduled to start on September 26. For more information and a link to sign up, visit their website.