After dropping out of high school, 19-year-old Michael Diaz felt lost and uncertain about the future. Deep down, he had always wanted to work in construction. But he didn’t know where to start.
That’s when Michael discovered Newport News YouthBuild. Michael joined the six-month program in April 2021 and quickly became a stand-out student. Thanks to givers of hope like you, Michael earned a monthly stipend while being trained in a variety of construction trades, including HVAC, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. Michael also received support obtaining his GED.
“They really care about you in the program. The instructors encouraged and challenged me to learn as much as possible.”
In addition to training, Michael and other students in the program had opportunities to put their skills to the test on projects with Habitat for Humanity, one of YouthBuild’s program partners. They worked alongside licensed contractors to build homes for families in need in the southeast community of Newport News.
An important part of the YouthBuild program is job shadowing. Michael was able to work directly with YouthBuild employment partner, Breeden Construction. The Breeden leadership were so impressed with Michael’s natural skill set and capacity for leadership that they offered him a full-time position with great benefits as a Carpentry Laborer in December 2021.
“I’m very excited that I finally get to do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do growing up, and that was to be able to work with construction.”
For Michael, working at Breeden is more than a job, it is a career and dream realized. Since being hired at Breeden, Mike has supported the company on an $18.5 million renovation project to redevelopment 81 multifamily units as part of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in the southeast community of Newport News.
“To me, YouthBuild is important because it got me out of a dark space. They helped me become more confident in myself and helped me become a team leader.”
To learn more about Newport News YouthBuild and how you can make an impact, read our Case for Support below.