New program prepares young adults for construction careers

By Isaiah Barnett

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The first Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U) cohort focused on the construction sector graduated Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

The event brought 30 individuals together, including graduates and their families, program facilitators and recruiters for a luncheon to award the students with their certificates of completion and to celebrate their accomplishment before they move to the next phase — employment.

The construction program was supported by a grant from the NBA Foundationthe CavsGreater Cleveland PartnershipCuyahoga CountyNAMC (National Association of Minority Contractors)First Energy and the AKA Team. With it, Y.O.U has moved one step closer to their goal of creating a just and equitable community where every young person is ready and confidently pursuing a meaningful future. The focus of the program is on minority young adults.

Y.O.U.’s focus is on ensuring young individuals are ready to pursue a path to economic stability through mentoring, employability skills training, industry-based credential training, career exploration, jobs and internships.

Dominic Murray, Program Manager Youth Opportunities Unlimited

“The aim of the program is to help young individuals develop long lasting skills to become self-sufficient contributors to Northeast Ohio’s workforce,” said Dominic Murray, Program Manager with Youth Opportunities Unlimited at the luncheon. “The specific focus was getting the first cohort into construction-based careers.”

The ten-week intensive program provided each student with a job coach, case manager, support services and coaching/mentoring. The focus is on developing the individual’s work ethic, professionalism and soft skills, and provide job search and retainment tactics and mock interview and resume writing assistance.

Students walked away with several industry specific skills, such as construction site awareness and safety, and secure handling of power tools. Interpersonal skills such as basic communication and employability as it relates to the construction sector were also taught.

Construction Credential Training Graduation 2022: Young Adult Opportunities Program from Youth Opportunities Unlimited on Vimeo.

At the end of the program students received certifications from the National Center for Construction Research & Education (NCCER) in Basic Safety, Hand Tools, Power Tools, Construction Drawings, Construction Math, Materials Handling, Basic Communication Skills and Basic Employability Skills.

“Everyone here wants to see you succeed, no one wants to see you fail. The support is the best thing about this program.” said graduate Le’Jon Hampton.

“What I like most about this program was that everything was free,” noted Lamas Anderson. “We got paid to learn and everyone was trying to help you be successful.”


Furthering economic empowerment in the Black community — NBA Foundation

National Association of Minority Contractors | Home (

Youth Opportunities Unlimited | Workforce Development

To apply for the next construction sector cohort: General 2 — Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Greater Cleveland Partnership’s All In vision for a Great Region on a Great Lake has five key priorities: Dynamic Business, Abundant Talent, Inclusive Opportunity, Appealing Community and Business Confidence. All of our work ties back to these values. This story relates to Inclusive Opportunity.