At Black Mountain Home for Children we have seen a distinct need for programming that will provide opportunities for youth for whom a traditional educational setting may not be the best choice. Developing a program that offers youth who are currently slipping through the cracks in the system hope for the future is a critical need that allows us to address big-picture issues such as:
- Providing youth who are likely to become dependent on governmental assistance with a way to be productive, contributing members of society.
- Stepping into the gap to assist youth who are likely to face issues such as homelessness, difficulty managing daily activities, and even imprisonment.
- Creating apprenticeship opportunities for youth to find gainful employment while taking advantage of existing relationships with BMH staff. Our goal is to help youth earn a living wage.
The Apprenticeship Program will initially include four training tracks: culinary arts, outdoor leadership/recreation, hospitality/housekeeping, and maintenance/automotive. Youth will participate in a year-long training program that includes hands-on experience on our campus before being paired with a local business providing a paid internship. Once youth complete the program the goal is for the sponsor business to consider offering them continuing employment at a living wage. We have entered into an agreement with a nearby conference center/camp to provide apprenticeships and are working with other local businesses to firm up partnerships. Funding is in place for a training kitchen that will allow us to launch our culinary arts track in 2019.