Students at Crispus Attucks Charter School can now receive certification in childhood development thanks to a recent federal grant that will extend what had been a pilot program.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the charter a grant totaling more than $1 million to expand its YouthBuild program. YouthBuild helps at-risk youth obtain a high school or equivalent degree and industry-recognized credentials through education, training and pre-apprenticeships, according to a news release.

Crispus Attucks, a 20-year-old independent public school chartered by York City School District, is an affiliate of YouthBuild, which is offered through the department nationally.

YouthBuild students at the York City school can receive certifications following construction and health care education tracks, and a newly added child care development track — a pilot program, which the grant will allow the school to continue.

"We’re excited about that — to be able to have those opportunities for our young people," said Jacquie Martino-Miller, CEO of the charter.

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It was a fitting addition to the school's curriculum, she said, because Crispus Attucks has an early learning center across the street where students can get hands-on training.

Harrisburg Area Community College is partnering with the charter to provide classroom training on Wednesdays for staff and students. 

"We know that we have students that are interested," Martino-Miller said, adding that they have asked for opportunities in child care and that it's a needed discipline.

"It is hard to find child care workers," she said. "We’re always looking for people to work with our young people."

The pilot started in September and will end May 1. To complete the program, students also must receive their high school diploma and go through about 480 hours of hands-on training, she said.

Martino-Miller said the track can take up to 10 students at a time. Two who started while they were students have since graduated and been hired at the early learning center while they work on completing their certification.

"We saw that they were good workers," Martino-Miller said of hiring the November graduates. "They were there every day and following through."

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National programs: There are more than 200 urban and rural YouthBuild programs in 46 states — all of which have required construction training to build housing for low income or homeless individuals and families in their communities, the release said.

But many programs offer a Construction Plus model, which provides training in fields such as health care, information technology, hospitality, retail services and logistics.

The U.S. Department of Labor collectively awarded $85 million to YouthBuild programs in 32 states at the end of January, and 65 of 81 programs had applied to offer Construction Plus training.

Three programs from Pennsylvania received YouthBuild grants this year, including a $1.1 million grant to Connection Training Services in Philadelphia and a grant of about $1.09 million to Garfield Jubilee Association in Pittsburgh.

Crispus Attucks Association of York received a grant of $1.1 million. 


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