Diakon Wilderness Center grant expands vocational training for at-risk youths

Wilderness center automotive program gets 'lift' from $25k grant

Boiling Springs, Pa. Tuesday January 28, 2014

No longer a fledgling program taking shape in a former storage facility on the Diakon Wilderness Center's mountainous campus, the center’s automotive program is the recipient of a $25,000 grant that will go a long way toward expanding the scope of Diakon Youth Services' vocational training for at-risk youths.

“With the award, we will be purchasing and installing a car lift, tire-changer, tire-balancer, and an assortment of power tools and air guns,” says Corey Carothers, executive director of Diakon Youth Services. He adds that without the lift, the program would have been limited in impact. “To have the ability to put an entire class of students under a vehicle to view mechanical items really moves the program to a higher level in terms of its impact.”

“As we train students on how to use the new equipment, they will be that much more prepared to get that entry-level job.”

Given by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the grant recognizes the center’s intensive effort to align its programming with vocational standards and outcomes established by PACTT (Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training), a project of the state commission and the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services.

Long-term goals of the PACTT Project are to help youths served by providers such as Diakon Youth Services and the Diakon Wilderness Center to develop the necessary competencies either to continue their academic careers or to enter the competitive job market following release from court jurisdiction.

Automotive mechanics is one of three vocational-training emphases at Diakon Youth Services' Diakon Wilderness Center.

Automotive mechanics is one of three vocational-training emphases at Diakon Youth Services' Diakon Wilderness Center.

 

“PACTT has helped us to create a standard curriculum that is tied to certain certifications,” Carothers says. “By aligning with PACTT and winning these grant funds, we can take a huge step forward.”

Car lifts, tire changers, balancers, and other equipment are basic necessities in a garage—and critical in a program geared to providing basic training in auto-mechanic skills, he adds.

“If we can train our students to become competent on how to use the new equipment, they will be that much more prepared to go out and get that entry-level job,” says Carothers.

“Thanks to this award, we have increased the quality of the program for our students and established a fully functional classroom that will train them in the field of auto mechanics.”

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