AV YouthBuild awarded $1.1 million

Palmdale council member, Tom Lackey, speaks at a press conference Wednesday to announce the $1.1 million federal grant awarded to AV YouthBuild. The program receives a lot of support from the city of Palmdale, co-founder Olivia Altamirano said.

PALMDALE – Antelope Valley YouthBuild has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, officials announced Wednesday.

“I’m just really excited,” said Co-Founder Olivia Altamirano. “We’ve been applying for the last five years.”

Antelope Valley YouthBuild, which began in 2007, offers a community-based alternative education program that provides project-based classroom instruction and occupational skills training to “at potential” youth, ages 16-24.

AV YouthBuild students commit to transforming their lives and to rebuilding their communities.

“We started off with 12 students,” Altamirano said. “Now we’re servicing more than 200 students a year.”

Antelope Valley YouthBuild offers an accredited high school diploma and hands-on occupational training in construction, wildland fire technology, nursing assistant and solar technology installation through various partners, including YouthBuild Charter School of California Central, Antelope Valley Community College, City of Palmdale, Paving the Way Foundation and New Technology Training Institute.

Students spend six to 24 months in the fulltime program. There’s an academic component Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., leadership workshops from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, and community service, once a month on Saturday, Altamirano said.

“Our goal and our focus is to develop leaders in our community,” Altamirano said. “They have a commitment not only to transforming their lives, but rebuilding their communities as well.”

The grant will allow the community-based alternative education program to offer additional support services, such as counseling and job development, as well as a stipend for up to 36 students, Altamirano said.

She said students will be selected to receive the stipend based on the four A’s – attitude, attendance, appropriate language and behavior and appearance.

For more information on AV Youth Build, visit www.avyouthbuild.com.