Southwest GA United earns $1.5 million grant for YouthBuild program

Published 5:08 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

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From Staff Reports

Empowerment Pathways YouthBuild is Now Enrolling. Empowerment Pathways YouthBuild is a youth development program for individuals age 16-24 who want to earn their GED, a trade in construction, and be paid while moving forward.

The Empowerment Pathways YouthBuild Program was established in 2003 by the Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone under a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a service to its home communities of Dooly and Crisp counties in rural southwest Georgia. Since 2014 the program is has been operated under a grant from the Federal Department of Labor.

The program recruits young people between 16 and 24 years of age, at least 75 percent of which have not received a high school diploma and at least 75 percent from low-income households. Participants receive vocational instruction, life skills training, employability and entrepreneurship training, counseling, and youth leadership development. Participants experience all phases of affordable residential construction while assisting in the construction or renovation of affordable single-family homes.

The vocational construction training is based on the National Association of Home Builder’s Residential Construction Academy Carpentry program and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum. Under the current grant a new Construction+ credential is being offered in the area of Prep Cook. Participants who have completed at least two parts of their GED can take the Prep Cook Certification course offered through South GA Technical College.

The mission of YouthBuild is to assist those age 16-24 years old, that did not finish high school, get an education and earn an employable skill trade. By building the lives of our youth, we are building the foundation for tomorrow.  For more information and applications, the YouthBuild Center is located at 212 N. 2nd St. Cordele, GA and we can be reached at 229-276-1580 or by emailing Program Manager Kim Thomas at

YouthBuild is a program operated by Southwest GA United with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Seventy-five percent of the funding for the YouthBuild program comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and 25 percent is contributed by Southwest GA United.