The Community Renewal Team (CRT) was recently awarded $1,202,143 by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide 67 at-risk teens and young adults (ages 18 – 24) from Hartford and East Hartford the opportunity to improve their education, occupational skills, employment credentials, and leadership capabilities over the next three years. Participants who complete the YouthBuild training program should experience a substantial increase in their standard of living and community engagement.

“The YouthBuild program offers a unique opportunity for young men and women to get hands-on training in construction and other highly desirable job skills that will fully prepare them to enter the modern workforce ready to succeed,” said CRT’s President and CEO Lena Rodriguez.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this important job-training program to young people in our community,” said Fernando Betancourt, Chairman of CRT’s Board of Trustees. “There are so many obstacles to success these days, but we know that YouthBuild participants can complete this program armed with new skills that will lead to long-term career opportunities.”

CRT will offer a “Construction Plus” training program to the participants that is modeled after our multiple successful Capital City YouthBuild projects that we have run previously.

CRT guarantees that 32 students will be enrolled and complete construction skills training during the more than three year grant period of performance.

The Construction Plus training will also include Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) training for 20 students through Capital Community College; and a selection of certified classes and on-the-job training for 15 students through Goodwin College.

CRT has selected Construction Plus fields of Security Guard Certification, Phlebotomy and Laboratory Services, Medical Assistant, and Machining/Manufacturing Technology.

“YouthBuild enhances the lives of its students and the community as a whole,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. “The Community Renewal Team has been a positive influence on Connecticut families for years and grants like these go a long way to keep formal training and mentorship programs going. I commend their work, and will continue to fight in Washington for federal dollars to continue efforts to better the lives of the young people of Connecticut,” he added.

“Giving young people skills to compete in high-demand industries like construction, nursing, manufacturing, and medical research is exactly the kind of workforce development we need to do more of. I want to thank the U.S. Department of Labor and the Community Renewal Team for this new partnership,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

“As one of the people who helped to start the first YouthBuild program in Hartford, it gives me great pride to know that CRT is continuing the vital work of this job-training program for disadvantaged youth in Hartford and East Hartford,” said Martin Alvarenga, Business Agent & Organizer with the Carpenters Local 326 in Connecticut, and new member of CRT’s Board of Trustees. “The young men and women who go through this training will come out with serious skills that will take them far in life.”

Individuals interested in joining the YouthBuild program in Hartford can contact CRT at 860-560-5308, or via email:

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