YouthBuild McLean County, Inc
Angelica struggled in traditional school. Although her academic skills were very high, she experienced long periods of absenteeism and high anxiety because her father was deported to Mexico in 2019. In an effort to stay connected, and despite the cost and time, the family would travel to Mexico regularly. Finding herself deficient in many credits to achieve graduation on time, Angelica determined she would look for alternative education pathways. She was particularly interested in the vocational training offered at YouthBuild McLean County while she was working on completing her high school education.
Angelica’s career goal was to learn construction and how to manage construction projects with her ultimate goal being to own her own construction company. Angelica enrolled in YouthBuild in Fall of 2020. She also applied and was accepted into the Construction Vocational Training program. Working with YouthBuild Construction staff, Angelica learned the tasks involved in a comprehensive home remodel. She assisted in demolition and deconstruction, framing, installing windows and doors, hanging sheetrock, landscaping, painting, installing cabinets and fixtures, construction safety and tool recognition and many other skills.
While working on the construction site project house, Angelica also continued work on her high school diploma course work and completed the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Carpentry Certification, a nationally recognized industry credential. She also earned her first aid and CPR certification and OSHA 10 certification. Angelica received mentoring services, mental health services, career readiness services and other supportive services to help her stay on track and achieve her education and career goals while in YouthBuild. Angelica completed two college courses through YouthBuild’s dual credit program with Heartland Community College. Angelica thrived with the competency-based learning model at YouthBuild and was able to make up lost credits quickly and proficiently. Angelica’s attendance was excellent and while in YouthBuild, she enrolled in AmeriCorps and completed 450 hours of service in addition to her course work. She helped build raised garden beds for the Sunnyside Community Garden, build animal habitats for the Miller Park Zoo and constructed food boxes for families in need at the Midwest Food Bank amongst other projects.
In April 2021, Angelica was awarded a $12,000 scholarship to Heartland Community College to pursue an associate’s in applied science degree in Construction Project Management. She will also earn an AmeriCorps education award for her work in community service. In August 2021, Angelica was a member of the graduating class at YouthBuild. She was also awarded the Suzanne Fitzgerald Leadership Award, the highest award at YouthBuild, “for demonstrating leadership excellence and inspiring others to perform at their best”.
She is enrolled as a fulltime student at Heartland Community College and will being classes in August 2021. Angelica will also be coming back to YouthBuild in September 2021 as a work-study student through Heartland to assist the Construction Vocational Instructor train new YouthBuild students.