The Challenge Program's core services are on-the-job construction training experience, education, case management and job placement.
The construction training program enrolls 18-21 year old, at-risk, out-of-school youth and teaches them basic construction techniques and skills. We believe that hands-on learning is the most effective way to teach skills to youth who do not perform well in a classroom environment, so we place trainees with functional construction crews to work on projects that revitalize and add value to the community. These construction jobs provide opportunities for on-the-job construction training, as well as a unique chance for trainees to improve the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside.
Our experience shows that credential attainment, particularly a GED or high school diploma, is absolutely essential for successful entry into the workforce. Thus, we have integrated on-the-job construction training experience with the specific academic skills necessary for trainees to successfully earn these credentials. In addition to working towards their GED, trainees obtain at least one industry-recognized credential while enrolled, such as OSHA, certified flagger or certified forklift operator.
The Challenge Program is dedicated to working with a difficult population – out-of-school, older youth. Our two staff case managers work closely with trainees to help them navigate the barriers that hold them back, advocate for them and to ensure that trainees are stable when they leave the Challenge Program. Case Managers are here to assist with legal issues, housing, life skills, referrals to community resources, obtaining a driver’s license and all aspects of becoming a successful, stable adult.
The Challenge Program is committed to placing trainees in construction related positions upon graduation. Trainees and graduates are supported throughout the entire job search process, including writing their professional resume, job search leads and guidance through the application and interview process. We provide appropriate referrals and references for graduates, as well as off-site work experiences with local contractors. We remain in contact with our graduates for a minimum of 18 months after they complete their training.