Valencia’s YouthBuild Program Helps Transform Lives

Valencia is in the business of transforming lives and inspiring individuals to excellence, and like many of our programs, YouthBuild is an excellent example of how we’re making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth, ages 16-24, who never thought they could be Valencia students. The program started on Osceola Campus in July 2017 and aims to provide GED preparation, as well as Basic Construction Skills certificates to help out-of-school youth graduate and obtain employment.

“YouthBuild is providing a second chance to students who have run out of second chances,” explained Michelle Sanchez, project director, YouthBuild. “It gives purpose, motivation and hope to these students who have been labeled as ‘at-risk.'”

Even with the program being fairly new, it’s making an impact on those who have enrolled. To date, YouthBuild has had nine students who have obtained their high school diploma and three who have obtained a Basic Construction certificate. The program has 37 students currently enrolled with an anticipated 62 students who will be enrolled by the end of 2018. The first YouthBuild graduation will be hosted on Friday, April 6, 2018.

One graduate will begin college in the coming months and two students will start their Welding Certification at Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. To read how YouthBuild has already helped one student earn his GED and find a newfound sense of purpose, click here.

“I am thrilled that we are able to provide opportunities for youth in Osceola County to not only complete their GED on campus, but also to develop skills to prepare them for a meaningful and productive career,” said Kathleen Plinske, president, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses.

If you would like to learn more about YouthBuild or if you know of a student who may be interested in the program, please contact Michelle at or 407-299-5000, extension 4170.

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