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.
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.