Citrus County YouthBuild graduation set


Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
352-291-9559 | 352-816-1264
[email protected]

OCALA, Fla. (June 8, 2016) – Phoenix Rising graduates will trade hardhats for mortar boards and hammers for diplomas Friday as they celebrate completion of Citrus County’s second and third YouthBuild projects and fourth home.

The graduation takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Calvary Church in Inverness, just off Croft Road at 2728 E. Harley St. The church is near the Southern Pines subdivision, home to the most recent two YouthBuilds.

Phoenix Rising is an alternative education program that seeks to revitalize economically-challenged areas of Inverness, Crystal River and Ocala while making a positive difference in the lives of young adults, age 18-24.

The Southern Pines project in Inverness marks the 12th Phoenix Rising home undertaken since the program began in 2011 in Ocala. Participants of Citrus County Phoenix Rising are also credited in assisting in various phases of 12 homes in Inverness and Crystal River since 2014.

Through Phoenix Rising, income-eligible participants receive hands-on and classroom training designed to develop workforce skills that lead to employment. A key feature of the program involves construction of Habitat for Humanity homes for deserving families in Citrus County (Crystal River and Inverness, to date) and West Ocala. Additionally, participants may earn their GED as well as industry-recognized certifications while receiving weekly participation payments.

Major funding for the project comes from a $1.1 million grant from the US Department of Labor obtained by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.

In addition to funding, CareerSource CLM and its youth services provider, Eckerd Workforce Development, select program participants, assign career coaches to help oversee the program and provide classroom employability training. Major partners also include Habitat for Humanity of

Citrus County, Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC), Citrus County Library System, and United Way of Citrus County.

“Words cannot express how proud we are of these young people,” said Brian Conard, area youth services program manager. “They all now have a new pathway to greater lifelong success with the skills they have learned through this opportunity.”

Including Friday’s 21 graduates, the program has a 91-percent graduation rate with 130 of the 143 Phoenix Rising participants completing the program. Collectively, graduates have earned 323 industry credentials, 48 high school diplomas or GEDs and to date, 98 have become employed or enrolled in postsecondary programs.

Those graduating (second YouthBuild): Kody Bagwell, Nichloas Borozan, Kyle Conrow, Nyajah Dorsey, Dhanielle Feliciano, Kayceelee Gilbert, Jesse Hamilton, Kyle Morris, Martha O’Connor, Sabrena Shamburg, Codey Shinabargar and Brianna Vargulish. (Third YouthBuild): Micah Allen, Brian Badra, Robert Brooker, Shanequa Denson, Logan Evans, Michael Farley, Rachael Gray, Codie Jones and Zackary Kulch.

Also being recognized are Youth Connection participants Felicitie Gillette, a member of Calvary Church, and Scarlett Lawson; both earned GEDs through Phoenix Rising partner WTC.

Phoenix Rising YouthBuild has become a national model of what communities can build when public/private partners work together. It has earned recognition from the Florida League of Cities and the National League of Cities, Harvard’s School of Business and Habitat for Humanity International’s highest honor, the Clarence E. Jordan Award for creativity and innovation in building homes and communities.

For more information about the program, call 352-291-9550, ext.1852 or 800-434-JOBS, ext. 1852.


CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of the CareerSource Florida network of workforce services and resources. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. For accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Like CareerSource CLM on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube and/or follow on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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