Evolve Youth Trades Academy provides young adults with valuable professional experience

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Commercial workers are desperately needed. From plumbers to electricians, carpenters, etc. A local nonprofit gives tweens and teens a head start on a promising career.

A busy day at a house under renovation in the Allison Hill section of Harrisburg. “Right now I’m just patching the cracks around the windows and around the base of the floor,” Janice Baldwin said.

“Children renovate or help renovate a property. They painted, they caulked, they replaced doors, they replaced faucets,” CEO Patricia Robinson said.

All are part of Evolve Youth Trades Academy. “What we do is we take students through a sometimes six-week program or a program that will get them ready for a real apprenticeship program. So we are an approved free learning program. We start with 12-18 year olds,” Robinson said.

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If it’s a good fit, these kids could help fill a big void. “There is a shortage of tradesmen and women in the field. There are some who are retiring, but they don’t have enough staff to fill those positions, and my goal is to make sure that we introduce more black and brown people into the trades, because we want to diversify the trades as well as fill those positions,” Robinson said.

Well-paid positions. “Carpenters can start as pre-apprentices earning $15 or $16 an hour and they get promotions every six months. So by the time they exit trades, four years after trades started, they could be making, you know, $25 or $30 an hour,” Robinson said.

“I like practical things. I love building things, that’s why I love this program,” said Roxy Burnette.

Each yard has an experienced licensed instructor. “My job is carpentry. I do a little bit of everything, carpentry, plumbing, basic work,” said instructor Daryl Harris.

In addition to skills and money “They get hour credits; I have two students who are in high school. So they will get hour credits for an apprenticeship program. We also give them a stipend to help out,” Robinson said.

“You can make a living. It’s like a big arts and crafts project, but bigger. I think it would be a good job opportunity when I’m older,” Janice Baldwin said.

To learn more about Evolve Trades Academy, you can visit their website via the link here.

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