Students eager to enter the workforce with new skills


Worcester, MA, June 19, 2012 – State Representative James J. O’Day, D. West Boylston, will be the guest speaker at the Worcester YouthBuild Graduation ceremony to honor this year’s graduates. The Worcester YouthBuild Program, operated by Training Resources of America, Inc. (TRA), will graduate ten students on Thursday evening, June 21, 2012, at Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St., Worcester, MA.


The graduates, ages 17 to 24, include: Ethan Allen, Courtney Farrar, Obadiah Horton, Kyle Kozlowski, Justin Lacombe, Kerwine Laroque, Marques Laura, Randy Marines, Terrell Taylor, and Joel Ventura all of Worcester.


“I was humbled to be asked by Program Manager Robin Hooper to speak at the Worcester YouthBuild Graduation Ceremony.  Worcester YouthBuild has become an incredible asset to the Worcester Community in that it provides young people with guidance and direction towards success, while simultaneously improving the quality of life in some of Worcester’s most distressed neighborhoods.  Through engaging young people in their community, YouthBuild has established life-long partnerships between the local organizations and the next generation of professionals.  I am incredibly proud of these young people and their accomplishments,” said Representative O’Day.


Worcester YouthBuild is partially funded through the state budget, which allocates funds to the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition under the umbrella of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Representative O’Day has been a staunch advocate for the program since his election in 2007.  This year, Representative O’Day, along with his colleagues in the House of Representatives, has been diligently working to increase state funding for YouthBuild programs statewide in the Fiscal Year 2013.  Representative O’Day said he will work with his Senate colleagues to secure an increase in funding in the final budget to make sure that the successful program is not hampered by fiscal constraints. 


Worcester YouthBuild provides comprehensive training to young people ages 16 to 24 that meet low-income guidelines, are not in school, have not received a high school diploma or GED, and demonstrate a willingness to work hard for personal and community change.


Students receive instruction in GED preparation, self-esteem, life, leadership and work readiness skills, community service opportunities, and construction skills training utilizing a community housing rehab or new construction project which helps create quality low-income housing in Worcester. Extensive support services include counseling/ case management, job development/ placement assistance, as well as transition to higher education and follow-up services.  Most of all, the program offers opportunities for personal growth and development.  As graduate Marques Laura says, “I have a dream, or maybe more like a goal, to better my life and accomplish something in my kids’ eyes by providing for them in the right way. Without Worcester YouthBuild I would be doing nothing and moving in the same circles that would eventually lead to my own self-destruction.”


Through partnerships with Main South Community Development Corporation and Stone Soup Project, this year’ s class learned new skills through participation in a variety of rehabilitation, landscaping, and community service projects throughout Worcester.


According to Robin Hooper, Program Manager, “I am confident that everything the graduates have learned in YouthBuild will guide them throughout their lives to make good decisions for themselves and their families.  But the greatest impact of YouthBuild is that it has taught these youth to be role models to their peers as well as to the next generation of young people to follow them.”     


Collaborating agency and government representatives, family and friends will be on hand to congratulate the graduates as they celebrate their accomplishments and prepare to use their new skills in the workplace.


About YouthBuild


Founded in 1990 by Dorothy Stoneman, YouthBuild, Inc. and its 270 program affiliates nationwide have worked to unleash the positive energy of unemployed young people to rebuild their communities and their own lives with a commitment to work, education, responsibility, and family. 


Since 1999, over 280 youth enrolled in Worcester YouthBuild have helped to substantially renovate or construct new homes creating 17 Energy Star rated housing units for low-income families.  Additionally, the youth have worked on a variety of rehabilitation, preventive maintenance and landscaping projects at numerous low-income housing units throughout several Worcester area neighborhoods.


The program is operated by Training Resources of America, Inc., a private, non-profit organization that provides education, employment, training and workforce development services for educationally and economically disadvantaged youth and adults. Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Worcester, TRA has several training sites throughout Massachusetts. The Worcester site is located at 2 Foster St., 3rd Floor.  For more information, visit TRA’s website: