2015 WORCESTER YOUTHBUILD: Spring Highlights



On April 14th, Worcester YouthBuild students Akiana Molina, Joel Padilla, Greyscha Vachier, Rosemarie Ramos, Savannah Polinski, and Cyrille Tekam-Tiako participated in a Design Charrette along with representatives from Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed, YouthBuild USA, Main South Community Development Corporation, National Grid, and Training Resources of America, Inc. (operator of Worcester YouthBuild).

The Design Charrette was an intensive, day-long, hands-on workshop that brought people from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore design options for 1-3 Kilby Street with the intent of turning this 13,200 square foot building into 9 low-energy housing units. After touring the building, the group studied/discussed ways that the rehab project could obtain LEED Certification.  Lucas Hamilton, Manager, Building Science Applications at CertainTeed / Saint-Gobain, was on hand to share information on Saint-Gobain/ CertainTeed products and the positive effects that green building materials and techniques have on housing, health, and the community. The day was fun, informative, and productive with the team determining that the project could minimally attain a gold certification threshold.



On May 31st, Saint-Gobain scientists Alex Lee, Kevin Ramirez, and Christopher Comeaux from the R&D facility in Northborough, MA provided a Scientist in the Classroom session which started at the YouthBuild worksite at 898 Main Street, Worcester and continued at the Worcester YouthBuild classroom.  The scientists taught a math lesson on area and perimeter using Boston Fenway Park and the Boston Garden as models. The scientists also brought in some CertainTeed/ Saint-Gobain products, explaining how each product is developed, manufactured, and ultimately utilized on a jobsite.                     

The scientists were very interested to learn about how the students were coming along in their studies and preparation for the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).  They bought lunch for the students and ate together at the worksite.


In the photo at the right, scientist Chris Comeaux teaches a math class on area and perimeter.



On May 19th the students of Worcester YouthBuild visited The Saint-Gobain Abrasives plant in Worcester and their Research and Development facility in Northborough. Students were given a tour of the massive industrial areas and saw firsthand how the production lines churn out quality grinding wheels and other sanding and finishing materials. The tour took place during a typical day shift at the plant, and students were provided protective gear including hardhats, eyewear, earplugs, and shoe coverings. Walking through the plant, the students were able to see the entire process of raw materials being combined together to form a finished product. The students then traveled to Northborough to visit the R&D facility. There, the tour allowed them to witness some of the newest products and concepts still on the drawing board. Saint-Gobain provided a delicious lunch of pizza and salad and desserts.

Seeing the development of these green products seemed to bolster the students’ performance on their own worksite. And more of them have now been considering a career in construction and other trades.


One student, Akiana Molina, has been particularly driven to excel in her performance.  Akiana is a 22-year old single mom with a very strong work ethic. She plans on applying for an apprenticeship at the local carpenters union upon attaining her high schoolequivalency diploma. She has attended several events in the city of Worcester regarding fair employment and wages for the youth of the community. She was a featured speaker at City Hall and at the May Day Rally, where she lent her voice before a large crowd advocating for jobs for youth in Worcester.


    Another YouthBuild student who has his own vision of career success is Marcus Diaz. Marcus has a love for cars and working on them. He has been performing an internship at Gerardi’s Garage, a local mechanic shop in the city, and is doing a fantastic job. The crew at the garage has taken a liking to Marcus and he has been a great addition.  He hopes to land full time employment there when the YouthBuild cycle ends.



Academics have been improving as well for this year’s YouthBuild team.  Several of the students have begun High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) testing, and have been scoring well.  Gabriel Rodriguez was the first to obtain his high school equivalency diploma (HiSED), with a very high score!  Staff is very proud of him. Gabriel emerged as a youth leader early on and showed interest in assisting the instructor with helping his fellow classmates.  Although his high school equivalency diploma goal has been reached, Gabriel continues

YB student Gabriel Rodriguez, at left, displays his diploma with a congratulatory handshake from YB Counselor/ Case Manager Doug Daigle.

to assist the instructor, as well as preparing to take his Accuplacer exam for Quinsigamond Community College, where he plans on attending this fall.  Gabriel wants to work in Human Services as a youth outreach coordinator while in college.  He has demonstrated skill in working with teens and shown an aptitude for teaching. We know he will be a great asset to his community.



     On May 20th, students took part in YouthBuild Re-Commitment Day. This event was designed for the students to revisit their initial purpose for joining YouthBuild, as well as remembering the determination they had during Mental Toughness. The first two thirds of the day were filled with team-building exercises and a re-focus on goals.  After lunch, students and staff visited a nearby park and played touch football and basketball, coming together in a mix of competitiveness and teamwork. It was a great end to a wonderful day!



    “The Working Lunch” is hosted by Jeff Turgeon and Sean McGauley and produced by Bob Zukowski, all from the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board.  The Working Lunch” highlights workforce development in Central Massachusetts, the State and the Nation with the latest employment trends and job search tips. It also features interviews with special guests. You can stream them live from WCUW 91.3 FM during show times 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM every fourth Wednesday of the month, or view past episodes on their YouTube Channel.

The following is a link to a segment they did on TRA’s Worcester YouthBuild Program that aired on April 22nd: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7-ZX_HO0j3dQjZWY2JIcTQ3dEE/view?usp=sharing



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