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

OCALA (Aug. 9, 2018) – The Phoenix Rising YouthBuild program will continue to build on its success later this month by blessing a recently completed home one day and raising the walls on another the next.

The blessing for the home built this past spring by members of Marion County’s seventh YouthBuild class takes place Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. at 8075 Juniper Road in Silver Springs Shores.

The wall raising for the eighth YouthBuild is set for Thursday, Aug. 23 at 8:30 a.m. at 1023 NW 14th Ave., in Ocala.

Phoenix Rising has been raising the hopes and expectations of at-risk young adults since 2011. The alternative-education program is designed to help revitalize economically challenged areas in Marion County while making a positive difference in the lives of young adults, age 18-24.

Through the program, students receive hands-on and classroom training designed to develop workforce skills that lead to employment or a post-secondary education program. A key component of the program involves construction of Habitat for Humanity homes for deserving families in Marion and Citrus counties. Additionally, participants may earn their high school diploma as well as industry-recognized certifications while receiving weekly participation payments.

CareerSource CLM and its youth services provider, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development, recruit program participants, assign career coaches to help coordinate and oversee the program and provide classroom employability training.

Brian Conard, Eckerd’s area youth services program manager, said that all 13 graduates of the spring YouthBuild earned their Penn Foster High School diplomas, and the first members of the new class earned their diplomas through the program on August 3 and August 6.

“These YouthBuild students not only raise walls and build skills, they raise the spirits of anyone who comes in contact with them,” Conard said. “By the time they graduate from the program, they’ve also built confidence in their abilities and their future.”

Conard invited those interested in the program to attend the events – whether a prospective student, program partner or simply those who want to wish them well.

In addition to CareerSource CLM, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development and Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, primary partners include Marion County Board of County Commissioners, City of Ocala, 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).

Major funding for the Marion County YouthBuilds comes from an $806,000 grant from the US Department of Labor obtained by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion. The grant covers four Phoenix Rising YouthBuild projects for 48 students.

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, National League of Cities and Harvard’s School of Business. The program also received Habitat for Humanity International’s highest honor, the Clarence E. Jordan Award, for creativity and innovation in building homes and communities.

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


CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers may be reached using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. For accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or email [email protected]. A proud partner of the American Job Center network and member of CareerSource Florida.

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