New vocational program aimed at helping youth debuts soon

West Virginia
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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Salvation Army in Huntington is starting a new vocational program, which they say they hope helps kids learn valuable new trade skills and regenerate the local workforce.

“We want to give people in Appalachia, people in Huntington the sense of hope that there is a bright future here. That there are jobs in our community!” 

Captain Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer, The Salvation Army, Huntington

Beginning on February 1st, they will test the new program on 15 kids.

“This is going to be our vocation school. We are gonna give kids the hands on opportunity to learn how to use hammers, drills, saws, to be able to create things to get them interested in possibly going into a career path of being in a trade.” 

Captain Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer, The Salvation Army, Huntington

It will include several different courses:

“The main ones of course, when people think vocation, they think electrical, they think plumbing, we’re gonna have opportunities for the kids to try that out, and to use the space to maybe think differently…What are some new technologies that are out there? How can we utilize 3-D printers? How can we utilize creative thinking of solving problems?” 

Captain Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer, The Salvation Army, Huntington

They’ll also offer construction training and financial literacy courses, and hope to add welding to the curriculum as well; all in an effort to support one major goal:

“To really try to break generational poverty, through this education and through you know, this traditional ‘let’s build it, let’s see what works, and then follow your passions.” 

Captain Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer, The Salvation Army, Huntington

The Salvation Army is partnering with Huntington Bank to make the vocational school a reality—and a tuition-free one at that.

One of the contingencies of admission into the program is a parent’s agreement to also be a part of the financial literacy courses.

Program manager Toriano Brown says this may be the positive reinforcement some kids in the area need.

“Some of them are coming from a lot of different poverty backgrounds, party mindsets…to be able to come in and say you know, we’re gonna offer hope.” 

Toriano Brown, program manager, The Salvation Army, Huntington

Organizers of the program say their ultimate goal is the long-term success of their students.

“What we want to see is these young people starting out straight at a young age being able to enter our workforce here in Appalachia because we need workers!” 

Captain Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer, The Salvation Army, Huntington

The program is open for registration for students aged 12-18 until January 18th.

For more information on how to register, or on how to volunteer, visit this website.

For The Salvation Army in Huntington’s Facebook page, visit this website.

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