"Hope Builds" program gives youth hands-on job training

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:27:00-04

Five days a week, for four hours a day, local high school students spend their summer days building eight by eight sheds. 

Some area teens are making money while receiving hands on construction experience at the Hope Center. 

“I like the nail gun, I like the saw.  It’s just fun using the tools that I’ve never used before,” said North High Senior Tyliss Harris.

Tyliss Harris is one of three high school students who decided to give the Hope Center’s “Hope Builds” pilot program a try.

“They’ve learned about the construction industry before, but this is the first time hands-on training was offered,” said Melissa Yahnke.

Melissa Yahnke, the Chief Relationship Officer at the Hope Center says for four years they’ve offered the Hope Center Employment and Learning Academy in collaboration with the Step-Up Omaha summer jobs program, but they’ve never offered a construction internship until this summer. 

“We find that in North Omaha it’s not a matter of having jobs available, but it’s a matter of having the skills they need to get and keep a job,” said Yahnke.

Employers are always looking to fill construction jobs and the Hope Center feels the “Hope Builds” program will be a great way to introduce the city’s youth to employment opportunities. 

On Thursday Mayor Jean Stothert checked out the pilot program.  The participants not only impressed the mayor, but impressed themselves with their new job skills. 

“Like I did that, like that is me.  It’s good to see something I built be so nice,” said Harris. 

When the eight-week program is complete, the sheds will be sold to the community for a little over $1600 each.  All of the profits will go back into the Hope Center.