A new program in Fort Wayne aims to train at-risk children building trades.
Project Blueprint/Building Futures for Future Builders is a partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Northeast Indiana Building Trades, Michael Kinder & Sons and the city of Fort Wayne. The program teaches school-aged children such professions as electricians, sheet metal and iron workers, carpenters, plumbers and steamfitters and operating engineers.
The program was unveiled Monday at a ceremony at the new Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne building at the intersection of Fairfield Avenue and Pontiac Street. The new club will feature a “partnership room” where long-term directional career training can be taught to children, President & CEO Joe Jordan said.
Officials said Project Blueprint is a direct response to the declining numbers of qualified skilled workers in the building trades. The program is also designed to provide more opportunities and career readiness for Boys and Girls Clubs.
“As a Building Trades Council, we know that when we discuss capital improvements in our community, the best investment we can make is in our youth,” said Darryl Esterline, president of NEIBT. “They are the ones who are going to continue with everything we are working to build in Fort Wayne today and we want to make sure they not only know about but have passion for this career opportunity.”
The City of Fort Wayne approved a $15,000 Community Development Block Grant to further job development and career readiness for club members. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne was one of ten nonprofits in the city to receive a grant.
The city also earmarked some $2.4 million in net equity from a New Markets Tax Credits allocation for the organization to support neighborhood stabilization while broadening and enhancing overall educational and career opportunities for at-risk youth within the city.
“Investing in human capital is critical to the current and future success of Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “We’re fortunate to live in a community that values young people and the positive impact they can have on our city. The new Boys and Girls Clubs facility and the launch of the Project Blueprint initiative are examples of how we’re moving forward in the right direction with momentum and excitement for a better tomorrow.”