Building strength, stability and self-reliance through our Youth Build Program

Finding your place in the world can be a difficult task at any stage of life but is especially true for teenagers.

High school students are navigating through a high-tech and ever-changing world, tasked with the overwhelming decision of choosing the direction of their post-secondary education and career path. It can feel daunting, to say the least.

Thankfully, Habitat for Humanity Hamilton works to make this decision easier for youth, offering an unparalleled learning experience that benefits students long after they walk across the stage in their cap and gown.

With the support of ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s 2018 Corporate Community Investment Fund (CCIF) grant, Habitat Hamilton continues to participate in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), providing experiential learning opportunities on our build sites throughout the school year. Students enrolled in our Youth Build Program are the backbone of our Home Build Program; providing a consistent workforce that helps to build a Habitat house from start to finish. Some of the skills students learn include framing, tiling, plumbing, electrical work, installing insulation and drywall, exterior landscaping and cabinet installation. Our home builds double as a real-world classroom, where students can gain necessary credits to graduate high school while learning skilled trades.

Survey results show that 95 per cent of participants found a career path they would be interested in pursuing, and gained the skills necessary to help them enter the industry. In addition to learning the trades, students also reported becoming more independent, managing their time more efficiently, and having an increased sense of responsibility. Students also reported a boost in their self-confidence and in their ability to meet new people. By combining the Home Build Program with the Youth Build Program, Habitat Hamilton is able to create a positive and lasting impact on the social, intellectual, and emotional health and well-being of the communities in which we operate.

Exposure to the skilled trades also provides an education in STEM. Knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is required to wire a home, correctly install plumbing, frame a house, lay flooring and more. A background in STEM also helps students strengthen their ability to innovate and transform ideas into inventions. It helps students make a difference; building affordable housing that directly impacts members of the community.

STEM occupations are also growing at an accelerated pace, which means students enrolled in our Youth Build Program may have an easier time securing quality employment. STEM education allows students to apply their learning to real world situations. Habitat Hamilton’s Youth Build Program students rarely (if ever) ask “when will I ever use this skill in the real world?”

Habitat Hamilton wouldn’t be able to provide the Youth Build Program without the incredible support of both of our local school boards, HWDSB and HWCDSB. In addition to both secondary school boards, supporters such as ArcelorMittal Dofasco enable us to fund the program, ensuring we have the necessary material and tools to provide a great learning environment for students.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support our Youth Build Program, please click here.

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