SCC Press Release

Des Moines County’s YouthBuild Program Off to a Great Start

Des Moines County’s YouthBuild program recently graduated its first class. On June 15, the twelve students who completed the program were recognized at a ceremony in the Little Theater on Southeastern Community College’s West Burlington campus.

YouthBuild is a national program designed to help low-income at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 build job and employability skills. SCC launched YouthBuild Des Moines County earlier this year.

YouthBuild instructor Don Paladino explains, “YouthBuild helps at-risk youth develop job skills and  build self confidence. It helps them get to a place where they can contribute positively to our community.”

The six month program helps students improve their reading and math skills, and build leadership and job skills through classroom instruction and on-the-job community service experience.

“We spent a lot of time at Hope Haven and Big Hollow completing our community service component. It was a great experience for these students to see what a difference their contribution can make,” adds Paladino.

Participants who complete the program can earn a variety of diplomas and certifications including GED, OSHA certification, CPR/First Aid and a construction pre-apprenticeship certificate.

YouthBuild applicants must first participate in Mental Toughness training, a two-week intensive session that tests students’ commitment to the program.

Paladino says that the Mental Toughness session helps students understand and appreciate the opportunity the program provides to help them better themselves.

“If they’re not committed to succeeding, they won’t, and that drags everybody down.”

The second YouthBuild Mental Toughness session is currently underway with the program to begin in August. The next session will begin early next year.

 Persons interested in earning their GED or learning trade skills through the YouthBuild program should contact program coordinator Sally Maus at (319) 208-5282. They can also visit or via Facebook at YouthBuld DMC.

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