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Youth Development Corp. helps Saginaw teens enter workforce

Congressman Kildee toured the center Friday after helping secure $1 million in funding
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - A Saginaw nonprofit organization is helping to keep teens off the streets and on the job.

The Youth Development Corp. is helping students realize that their dreams can become a reality and they can get paid while doing it.

Jermel McDonald-Bodiford is a hands-on guy with a solid work ethic and attitude. He’s a student at the Youth Development Corp. in Saginaw with a dream of becoming a master electrician.

“It’s going very well for me,” McDonald-Bodiford said. “I learned a lot in a short amount of time. Right now, I’m on work experience and I’m learning more and more as I go.”

The Youth Development Corp. works to help people in the community like McDonald-Bodiford get their GEDs, college credits and skilled trades certifications.

“I just never took initiative but after high school,” he said. “I was like, I’m going to try the program and I found out also that they pay so it really made me want to come every day to learn more.”

The Youth Development Corp. has long been a vision for founder Eric Eggleston, who said every young adult should be afforded an opportunity to become a better and contributing member to society.

He sought help from Congressman Dan Kildee back in 2017 and was able to secure more than $1 million to build and fund the center. On Friday, Kildee toured the Youth Development Corp. for the first time.

“These young people who are coming here who have some challenges not only becoming trained, but proficient in trades that are really in demand,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”

Gerald Kariem, sits on the board of directors for the Youth Development Corp., is also the United Auto Workers vice president and director for Ford. It brings him a lot of joy to see young people applying themselves and laying a solid foundation for future success.

“This is a program where it’s not just talking. It’s walking the walk. It’s changing lives,” Kariem said. “Some folks aren’t just cut out to do the mainstream college route, so this is a very good alternative for a lot of our young folks.”

The Youth Development Corp. affords students to learn more about plumbing, solar panel installation, roofing, welding and much more with a $10 an hour wage. The program is open to anyone age 16 to 24 who lives in the city of Saginaw regardless of school status or criminal background.

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