Cultivating skills for the real world

COPYRIGHT 2018 DAVID LIAM KYLE - - All Rights Reserved.

 Greg Elma looks the part.

The 17-year-old construction worker is wearing a well-stocked tool belt, a hard hat and protective glasses as he and his colleagues tear out a section of drywall at a home they are rehabilitating in conjunction with Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

You would never guess this is Greg’s first job.

“I see so much opportunity,” says Greg, a Club member and a senior at East Tech High School. “I learned so much before we started, and I’m learning something new every day. I can definitely see myself working in construction, maybe as an engineer or in one of the trades.”

Greg and 15 other Club members from East Tech and John Adams high schools spent the summer in a promising new BGCC program called Building Great Futures. Teens trained for six weeks before starting work on two Habitat homes in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. An anonymous donor put up the money to launch the program and pay the workers.

Working with other teens has an overlooked side benefit. “These are people you know,” Greg says with an easy smile. “We are all learning together. You are not isolated. You are not alone.”