Governor Janet Mills Featured Speaker at LearningWorks YouthBuild Graduation
Our LearningWorks YouthBuild (LWYB) program graduated 24 students on August 12, 2021 at the Deering Oaks Park Amphitheater in Portland, ME. LWYB serves teens and young adults who have struggled to find their way in the traditional education system. Since 1994, the program has helped young people aged 16-24 who need an alternative to traditional high school successfully transition to adulthood through an alternative education model that includes HiSET exam preparation, construction and culinary skills training, leadership development, work readiness instruction, case management, and life skills. Governor Janet Mills was in attendance to address the students and offer her congratulations.
Governor Mills said, “You began this program in January of 2020, mere months before a global pandemic would change the way you went to school, the way you saw your friends and family, the way you worked. Despite the challenges, you not only stuck with it, but you persevered to learn leadership and life skills.” She continued on to say, “I am proud of you. I also know that today represents the culmination of years of hard work, during which you have questioned whether you could continue to move forward, overcoming adversity time and again. Life is anything but a straight line. I know firsthand.”
The Governor continued on to explain adversities she’s encountered in her own life, as she trail blazed a path as the first woman Attorney General and Governor in Maine’s history. Today’s graduates are largely students who have overcome difficult obstacles in their own lives that lead them to take a nontraditional path in their educational journeys. The Governor’s remarks were well received by all.
Executive Director Heather Davis commented, “I am so proud and in awe of each student on this stage today. They each pushed through barrier after barrier to complete their education, learn multiple trades, and prepare for adulthood.”
LWYB Student Mikey Brunell received the Outstanding Student of the Year Award for his dedication and for completing every aspect of the program at the highest level. Four students out of 24 graduated with honors for completing every aspect of the program, including community service and on-the-job training, as well as earning every trade certification offered by the program, such as NCCER and OSHA-10. 10% of graduates will move on to college while the remaining students will enter the workforce in the trades.
Photo by Molly Haley.