YouthBuild named finalist in Rethink Adult Ed Challenge

Posted: January 22, 2021

Newport News YouthBuild, a pre-apprenticeship program, offered in partnership with Newport News Public Schools, the City of Newport News and Volunteers of America, Chesapeake and Carolinas (VOACC) is a finalist in the U. S. Department of Education's Rethink Adult Ed Challenge.

The eight-month program, which is funded in part through a US Department of Labor grant to VOACC, offers participants 16-24 years of age academic support in combination with real-world construction trades experience. It prepares cohorts of 10-15 students for apprenticeships and employment in growing markets in Hampton Roads.

Students in the program earn a weekly stipend and learn not only the skills needed for specific trades, but also concepts important for digital and financial literacy, workforce readiness and leadership.

The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge is a $750,000 competition to advance pre-apprenticeships. In the competition, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education invites adult education programs to design programs that better prepare learners for apprenticeships and beyond.

As one of 95 programs recognized, Newport News YouthBuild will progress to Stage 2 of the competition where program administrators will have access to a "virtual accelerator" that will offer digital resources and support from subject matter experts to strengthen the program further.

In June, finalists will be invited to submit more detailed program proposals. A judging panel will select a grand-prize winner that will receive $250,000. Up to five runners-up will receive at least $100,000 each.

Rachel Ambrose, Regional Program Manager for Adult Education, says, "We know how powerful pre-apprenticeship programs are for our students, allowing them access to opportunities in careers they might not have had otherwise. Being recognized by the US DOE validates what we already believed: combining academics with workplace skills and training helps students understand that what they're learning has real-world benefits. We look forward to the support the program will receive from the Virtual Accelerator and hope to make Newport News YouthBuild even stronger as we prepare students for the world of work."

For more information, please visit the Newport News YouthBuild website.