Durham incubator works to aid youth employment

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A Durham incubator is focusing on youth employment with the goal of curbing the numbers when it comes to at-risk youth. (WTVD)

A Durham incubator is focusing on youth employment with the goal of curbing the numbers when it comes to at-risk youth.

The ReCity incubator houses a network of over 30 local non-profits and mission-driven business all focused on helping the almost 5,000 Durham youth, who are neither in school or employed, by connecting them with opportunities that could lead them to family-sustaining employment.

"There's literally a tale of two Durham's happening where the rising tide of urban renewal isn't really lifting all ships," said ReCity executive director, Rob Shields.

They're doing this by fostering partnerships within those 30 groups all working under one roof to get more done. The partnership between Step-Up Durham and Partners for Youth Opportunity has already lead to job placement for nearly 30 young people.

Step-Up Durham helps to provide job training for those with significant barriers to employment such as ex-offenders, the homeless, and those with large gaps in employment.

Partners for Youth Opportunity focuses on mentoring young adults, who are the child of an incarcerated parent or a first generation immigrant, to get into college or find sustainable work.

"We asked Step-Up Durham, when they're meeting a family that they're going to serve, to ask if there are teenagers in their home who could use the services that PYO provides," explained Julie Wells, the executive director for Partners for Youth Opportunity. "That way we can maximize impact."

"We would not have been able to reach that many people just with four full-time staff and four interns," said Syretta Hill, executive director of Step-Up Durham.

Another non-profit, Helius Foundation, helps those who can't get a job to start their own business and succeed at it.

"This last year we've grown to 22 clients and all but five of them were referred by other organizations," said Geraud Staton, executive director of Helius Foundation.

All of these little successes helps ReCity get closer to its goal.

"We want to see 1000 kids in the next three years be connected onto a path towards living wage, family-sustaining income," Shields said.

Learn more about the incubator here.

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