NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Newport News program trains at-risk youth to fill skilled trade positions

Posted at 3:32 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 17:38:46-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News created a program called YouthBuild, aimed at helping at-risk youth receive training and certifications for skilled trades positions.

Director Daniel Carrera said the program is for young adults ages 16-24. He said if applicants don't have their high school diploma, they will work with them to secure a GED. They also provide training to receive certifications in carpentry, HVAC, electrical and plumbing.

There have been 40 graduates since the program was founded in June 2020.

“We do not want them to have adverse situations in their lives, so we give them various opportunities and YouthBuild is that opportunity,” Carrera said.

19-year-old Michael Diaz is a recent YouthBuild graduate. He is now working as a carpenter and site superintendent with Breeden Construction in Newport News.

“I’m able to do the one thing I always wanted to do growing up, and that was to be able to work with construction,” Diaz said.

The program also partners with local businesses to place graduates in skilled trades positions.

"We’re always looking for more workers on our job sites and there’s really a high demand for it at the moment," said Corbin Matacunas with Breeden Construction.

YouthBuild will be holding another recruitment event to enroll students in their new session. Recruitment is held at the Brooks Crossing Innovation Center, 550 30th St. Newport News, VA 23607.

These events will be held from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the following weeks:

  • April 18-22
  • May 2-6
  • May 9-13

For more information on the YouthBuild program and how to qualify, click here.