COMMITMENT TO ACTION

MBW Marine: Vocational Training for At-Risk & High-Risk Youth

Commitment by My Brother's Workshop

In 2019, My Brother’s Workshop (MBW) in partnership with Community Foundation for the Virgin Islands committed to expand their efforts in supporting youth by creating a marine vocational program in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). In USVI, youth crime rates are some of the highest per capita in the world, partly due to the severe lack of opportunities. Many students drop out of high school, making it difficult to maintain employment. Through this commitment, MBW will train at least 12 students per year and provide them with access to educational services to receive a high school diploma, mental health services, and career counseling and job placement. Students will learn skills in fiber glassing, structural repair, rigging, mechanical repair, electrical systems, plumbing, refrigeration, finish work, carpentry, and welding. Additionally, trainees will practice these techniques while building a boat. After the program, MBW aims to place least 8 students in jobs at local marinas and will monitor and support students’ progression.



Overview
Summary

Commitment

MBW Marine: Vocational Training for At-Risk & High-Risk Youth

Launched

2019

Est. Duration

1 Year

Estimated Total Value

$250,000

Region

Latin America & Caribbean

Countries

VIRGIN ISLANDS, U.S.

Commitment by

My Brother's Workshop

Partner(s) of the Commitment Maker(s)

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands
Details

My Brother’s Workshop, Inc (“MBW”) with the financial support of the Community Foundation for the Virgin Islands commits to expand their program by creating a new training program called MBW Marine. This program will provide the training and experience required of professionals in the marine industry, along with access to educational services to receive a high school diploma, mental health services, and career counseling and placement.

This commitment will build upon on a model established by MBW in 2007 to provide at-risk and high-risk youth mentoring, counseling, education, on-the-job training, and job placement. The model has a success rate of 70-80%.

MBW offers training in sectors including construction, culinary arts, customer service, manufacturing, research and design, and CAD programming. Mental health education through courses such as anger management and job placement are a priority. MBW’s offers accredited online courses with a high school diploma upon completion. After graduating, students’ progression in employment and personal relationships is tracked and monitored by MBW.

Because the USVI is an island chain, the marine industry has a high demand for skilled labor and provides possible career paths with the proper training and experience. MBW Marine will teach students about fiber glassing, structural repair, rigging, mechanical repair, electrical systems, plumbing, refrigeration, finish work, carpentry, and welding. Trainees will participate in building a 10’2” boat, learning how to read blueprints for the design and completion. Students will learn the proper way to maintain a boat and keep it operational. MBW will engage in partnerships with captains and coast guard to expose the youth to potential career paths within the marine industry. MBW aims to train 12-16 students in the first year.

On average, students will be enrolled in the program for 9-12 months. MBW will help students find local jobs, which include marinas for boat repairs and diesel engine repair and maintenance.

September 2018 – December 2018: MBW will hire a trainer with industry knowledge of the trade of marine work for maintenance and repairs of boats and diesel engines. MBW will secure partnerships with captains and coast guard to help expose the youth to potential career paths.

January 2019 – August 2019: Students will begin the MBW Marine program. Learning about fiber glassing, structural repair, rigging, mechanical repair, electrical systems, plumbing, refrigeration, finish work, carpentry, and welding. As well as begin building 10’2” boat. MBW will continue fundraising, to fund this program with additional students in the subsequent school year. MBW will have open enrollment throughout the year. MBW will be using curriculum from NCCER, the National Construction Center for Education and Research and our own supplementary courses that teach specific to the marine industry.

Background

In the USVI, youth crime and violence statistics are some of the highest per capita in the world. With severe lack of opportunities and education, youth turn to gangs to fill the void that is left. Many young people of the USVI have experienced childhood trauma ranging from losing loved ones to violent deaths to being emotionally and physically abused.

With the absence of a viable vocational and technical school, many of the students in the USVI drop out of high school and face difficulty in maintaining employment. Because of the lack of resources on the islands, students have lost hope and are making very tough decisions to leave or to rely on illegal ways to make an income. Before the storms, the USVI had over 60 homicides per year for a population of 105,000 people, making it the 5th in the world for gun violence related death. At MBW, trainees are tested when they enter the program, and on average youth read at a 6th grade level and understand math at a 3rd grade level.

The USVI is often called “paradise”, but students do not have many opportunities for development that would help them become contributing members of the communities.

MBW’s vocational programs provides the training and experience required of professionals in the marine industry, along with access to educational services to receive a high school diploma, mental health services, and career counseling and placement.

Partnership Opportunities

MBW is seeking organizations or individuals that can help support the marine program through financial resources, or media support. With additional partners and funding, MBW can increase the number of students in the program and secure funding for years two and three. All of the training materials are currently covered through MBW’s normal funding revenue which includes product revenue, government grants, and private or foundation donations or grants. MBW can be a partner to help support other apprentice programs that focus on the “on the water” training. MBW can share best practices and curriculum with partners to ensure programs are sustainable.

Progress Reports

June 2019

The MBW Marine vocational training started in September of 2018 and has had six students participate in the program, with two graduating by obtaining local employment. Students are building boats and boards that can be sold to the public while teaching the proper techniques of woodworking, welding, laser engraving, and fiber glassing. During the training, each student is also receiving mentoring, counseling, and education because of our holistic approach. This summer, MBW will be adding four more students to the Marine branch of the program.