Marion County’s next Phoenix Rising YouthBuild


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Ocala — Recruiting is under way for deserving young adults interested in taking part in Marion County’s next Phoenix Rising YouthBuild.

To kick off the program, an Open House will be held Tuesday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Community Building/Ocala Fire Museum, 615 NW Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., in Ocala. The drop-in event is designed to acquaint interested participants, family members and community partners with Phoenix Rising YouthBuild. Light refreshments will be provided.

The award-winning program, now in its 13th year, helps revitalize economically challenged neighborhoods while making a positive difference in the lives of those ages 18-24 who are willing to work, in need of a high school diploma or, those who have a diploma but are below a ninth-grade math and/or reading comprehension level., and interested in employment and/or postsecondary education or training.

Those interested in enrolling in the program must attend one of the orientation sessions that take place Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 2-4 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m.; and Friday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. All sessions take place at the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion career center, 2703 NE 14th St. in Ocala.

Because space is limited, those planning to attend must schedule a session in advance by calling 352-291-9550, ext. 1215 or by texting YB to 352-299-4499.

Through Phoenix Rising YouthBuild, students 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 of Marion County homes for deserving families. Additionally, students have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma as well as industry-recognized certifications and bi-weekly training stipends, performance incentives and other supportive services.

Phoenix Rising was spearheaded in 2011 by then Ocala Police Chief Sam Williams in collaboration with CareerSource CLM and its youth services provider, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, the City of Ocala, and other community partners.

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 federal funding for YouthBuild is $844,712. The two-year grant covers training for 48 students and construction of four homes.

In addition to YouthBuild, CareerSource CLM, Eckerd, Habitat, and the City of Ocala, Phoenix Rising’s primary partners are the College of Central Florida (Hampton Center), Equal Housing Opportunity, HBI (Home Builders Institute), Impact – An Entrepreneurial Initiative of the CEP presented by Ausley Construction, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation, and United Healthcare Community Plan.

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

For more information, call 352-291-9550, ext.1215.

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