Staff Report

Riviera Beach, Fla. – If you know a Palm Beach high school student who is at risk of not graduating, The Riviera Beach Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) may be able to help change the trajectory of that child’s life.

Its new pre-apprenticeship program offers a real high school diploma and a jumpstart to a skilled-trade career in just months. It also includes a $9.50 per hour learning stipend.

The program launched last month with space for 20 students from across Palm Beach County.

The program is the only one of its kind in the county and is an ambitious partnership between the City of Riviera Beach, Palm Beach County, the School District of Palm Beach County and Florida Training Services, Inc. – all of which are providing funding and various support mechanisms.

It is the brainchild of YEP’s Executive Director Valerie Grimsley.

“My goal has always been to create as many options for potential success for our students as I can,” Grimsley said. “This is just an extension of that.”

Students who enroll will study five skilled trades three times a week at North Technical

Education Center, located at 7071 Garden Road, while also studying for their high school diplomas two days per week at YEP, headquartered at the city’s Lindsey Davis Community Center campus, 1550 West 28 Street.

Upon completion, students can choose to continue study in one of the trades, which will be paid for by that chosen trade’s union. There’s an established partnership with Palm Beach State College for the enrollment of those who want to try college.

“This program has all the hallmarks of success: partnerships, a satisfaction of recognized needs and a steady hand at the top, Miss Grimsley,” said Danny D. Jones, interim Riviera Beach city manager. “It has my full support and my full expectation of success.”

In order to be considered, students must first make it past an eight-member interview panel seeking to determine their commitment, focus and drive.