Presentation Minutes

YouthBuild -

  • Michaela Woodmansee, Goodwill Youthbuild Program,    
  • There is new class starting at the end of July
  • Program is for 18-24 year olds who are preparing for the work force
  • General Equivalency Diploma (GED), construction training and leadership development are part of the program
  • Students are in GED classes part of the time, other part is in the construction lab.  Students learn about tools, do framing, how to read blueprint reading, earn certifications, etc.
  • Starting wages for students completing the training are in the $20-$25 range (but I’m sure none of the job satisfaction of working in social services, right? –ed.)
  • Case management and support services are available during the 6 months program.
  • Transportation services are available
  • Breakfast and lunch is provided (I think I picked the wrong professional training – my Library School program didn’t have meals, transportation or starting salaries over $20/hr on exit.  Now that I think about it, I do believe my father pointed that out to me on multiple occasions… – ed). 
  • Any needed clothes and tools are provided.
  • Get 1 year of support after graduation
  • The program tries to bring folks in to meet the interests of the young folks – construction trades aren’t the only interest of students.
  • Kelly – how do you apply?  Michaela -  2 application avenues – paper or on-line at
    • Simple application (like, really simple – it took me 2 minutes to fill out, and that was being a bit wordy.  The application does put everything you type in capital letters, so it is like you are shouting at them – WHICH IS KIND OF FUN. –ed)
    • we focus on folks who are low income or experiencing homelessness, part of foster care system, in the criminal justice system or children of incarcerated parents
  • Sherri – how do you address housing?  Michaela – Easy, we teach them construction, so they can just build their own house when they are done with the program.  Bam. Next Question. (Michaela didn’t actually say this, which I think was a bit of a missed opportunity… Instead, she said what follows, which really is a much better answer: -ed) We have partnerships, such as with the REACH Center ( ) and with other organizations that can assess needs.  We also partner with Housing 4 Success and with Shared Housing Services ( )
  • Alice – I appreciate the focus on the education aspects – I’d like to hear more about Youthbuild and building houses.  How many hours of labor do the students put in?  Michaela -  I’ll need to get back to you about that.  Alice – are these kids getting exploited for their labor? (Alice phrased this in a much nicer way, but that was the gist. –ed.) Michaela – students do receive a small stipend, not a livable wage – and they do get $17,000 worth of the training at no cost to them.  Within the job focus, we do work to get folks livable wage jobs so they are ready for the workforce. (Michaela answered this question a bit better than I was able to jot down - she's a fast speaker though, so I didn’t always get everything… -ed)
  • Sherri – what about kids that are on the verge of exiting the foster care system or on the cusp of 18 (still 17)?  Can they apply then so they can work on housing?  Micahela – Youth under 18 can still work with use about housing resources before entering youthbuild, we have other programs as well that might be a good match, like Freshstart, barista, GED, etc. 
  • LaVada – What percentage of participants are successful?  Micahela - 75% graduate, but if they don’t get GED, will still work with them
  • Sherri – what if you have a 24 year old – must they exit when the turn 25?  Michaela - if they enter the program when they are 24, they can stay until completing, even if they turn 25.
  • Location – Goodwill - 714 S 27 S, Tacoma, WA 98409, 1st floor (REACH center)
  • Question – I’m homeless right now, I have kids in the foster care system, but I have a high school diploma already.  I have done youth training programs – what more resources are available?  I’m 32.  Michaela – with Youthbuild – the age limit is a barrier.  Other goodwill resources can help you out.  Connect with Kelly blucher over there (Kelly waves. –ed).  Goodwill program is for the whole community.  James – I’ll make sure you connect with who you need to when we break into small groups 
  • Question - Did Youthbuild used to include technology programs?  Michaela – yes, but not anymore. 
  • Kelly – come see the construction lab at Youthbuild – They have built 2 microhomes so far – that is one way students get their experience in framing and building.  Tour the reach center, youthbuild, and the upstairs work spaces (don’t forget the café. –ed.) James – I’ll be taking a tour of the Goodwill facility soon. 
  • Ben - I appreciate what you all do – as a former gang worker – getting a skill set and going into the work world – it means a lot.  Kids need the confidence and a place to be a part of a community. 
  • Michaela - thanks for all the work you do – I appreciate the partnerships.
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