Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
[email protected]

OCALA, Florida (Aug. 13, 2019) – The Phoenix Rising YouthBuild program is set to raise the walls on its 10th project in Marion County.

The award-winning program helps revitalize economically-challenged neighborhoods while making a positive difference in the lives of young adults who are willing to work, in need of a high school diploma and interested in employment and/or postsecondary education or training.

A foundational component of the alternative-education program involves construction of homes for deserving families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Marion County. The latest wall raising takes place Thursday, Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. at 350 Emerald Road, in Ocala.

The class of 15 selected for the program ranges in age from 18 to 23 and hail from Ocala, Dunnellon, Belleview and Silver Springs. Through Phoenix Rising, students receive hands-on and classroom training designed to develop workforce skills that lead to employment or a post-secondary education program. Additionally, students may earn their high school diploma as well as industry-recognized certifications while receiving weekly participation payments.

Current classmates aspire for careers in nursing, culinary arts, veterinary medicine, martial arts, long-distance trucking and film. Several say they hope to attend college while others plan to enlist in the US Army.

“It is often assumed graduates end up in construction because they’re building a home,” said Kimberly Grey, program manager for CareerSource CLM’s youth services provider, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development. “That’s certainly great if they do, but YouthBuild is about learning how to work as a team, it’s about discipline and giving back to the community. It also builds character and confidence.”

Grey said anyone interested in the program is encouraged to attend the wall raising.

“This is an extraordinary, uplifting program which has become a national model of what communities can build when public and private partners work together,” she said.

Major funding for the program comes from a grant obtained by CareerSource CLM from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Current year federal funding for Youth Build is $466,821.

In addition to CareerSource CLM, Eckerd and Habitat, primary partners are the City of Ocala, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, College of Central Florida (Hampton Center), Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation, Florida State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) and Equal Housing Opportunity, and Silver River Mentoring & Instruction (SRMI).

Phoenix Rising YouthBuild has earned recognition from the Florida League of Cities, National League of Cities and Harvard’s School of Business. It has also received the Clarence E. Jordan Award which is Habitat for Humanity International’s highest honor for creativity and innovation in building homes and communities.

For more information, call 352-291-9550, ext. 2293.


Phoenix Rising YouthBuild is sponsored by a grant from the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion and community partners.

 CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Aids/services available upon request in Spanish and to persons with disabilities. All phone numbers may be reached using TTY/TDD equipment via Florida Relay Service at 711. For accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or email [email protected] at least three business days in advance. CareerSource CLM is a proud partner of the American Job Center network and member of CareerSource Florida.

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