“I call it the raw material of an opportunity, because our real objective is training and employing at-risk youth to have every opportunity to live sustainable futures.”  — Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director, Choices for Youth

Train for Trades (T4T) was created in 2008 to provide employment for at-risk and homeless youth. It uses the expression “Real Pay, Real Work” to emphasize that while this is a support program it is also employment.

The program has three main categories of focus:

  • Training – designed to meet the needs of youth and industry, where youth receive the necessary safety knowledge and general construction training combined with energy efficiency retrofit training to prepare them for a career in the trades.
  • Employment – industry driven and meaningful, where youth are given the opportunity to gain valuable construction/energy efficiency retrofit experience, build on acquired knowledge and learn how to manage a job.
  • Support – Intensive Support Model (ISM) implemented to help youth navigate a personal plan for success and to attain the stability necessary to move forward in their lives.

The program targets many of the hardest-to-serve youth, including those without a high school education (or literacy issues), individuals with a history of addiction or mental health issues and youth who have been involved in the criminal justice system.