Jerry Farley, director of Dayton YouthBuild, and Linda Kramer, CEO of Daybreak, stand in a lab that simulates a doctor’s office or nursing home medical exam room to train students. The lab will also be used to treat young people with alcohol or other drug addictions. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

New program provides drug treatment, job training for youth

When young people can get good jobs, they are less likely to end up in jail or drug addicted, a local youth leader says.

Good jobs, however, are out reach for some Dayton-area youth who are homeless, already struggle with substance abuse, dropped out of school or check more than one box on this list.

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But Daybreak and Dayton YouthBuild will share a space that houses new alcohol and drug prevention/treatment services but also doubles as classrooms and a training lab for careers in allied health care.

“There’s nothing better to stop a needle than a job,” said Jerry Farley, director of Dayton YouthBuild, borrowing a line from a California nonprofit that helps former gang members obtain employment.

Daybreak and YouthBuild both occupy space in the Stuart & Mimi Rose Opportunity Zone for Youth, which Daybreak opened in 2016 just south of its main headquarters at 605 S. Patterson Blvd.

Daybreak’s new facility houses employment services and the Lindy & Company gourmet pet treats bakery, which is staffed and operated by homeless young people. In the lower level, YouthBuild has a lab to teach young people the building trades.

But YouthBuild and Daybreak also have teamed up to use about 1,600 square feet of the opportunity zone for dual purposes. The organizations serve some of the same youth.

Daybreak, which this year was certified by the state of Ohio to provide alcohol and drug treatment services, received funding from the state to help build out the space and received money from ADAMHS for operational costs, said Linda Kramer, CEO of Daybreak.

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Daybreak, which provides the region’s only around-the-clock emergency shelter for youth, will offer youth up to the age of 24 assessments, individual and group counseling and prevention and crisis intervention services. The program currently has one staff member but will add more as the caseload increases.

The program will start by serving Daybreak and YouthBuild participants but should open up to other youth in the community and staff will travel to where they are, such as the schools, Kramer said.

The program will try to reduce drug and alcohol use among participants through psychosocial support, treatment and prevention services, Kramer said. Daybreak also is working to provide Vivitrol treatment, which is a once-a-month injection to help people from relapsing.

“This is a comprehensive approach to supporting young people who might have barriers and challenges — oftentimes through no fault of their own — to help them succeed in life and not just push them under the bus and letting them fall through the cracks,” said Kramer.

YouthBuild, a U.S. Department of Labor grant program, helps at-risk youth and ex-offenders 18 to 24 get a high school diploma or GED and also credentials and a job.

The organization has offered training and education in construction work for years. But late last year, it added a health care program to help young people become state tested nurses aides or medical assistants, Farley said.

YouthBuild Dayton is the first YouthBuild program in the nation to be a certified National Healthcareer Association testing and training center, which allows it to certify students as phlebotomy, EKG or patient care technicians, Farley said.

Students can “stack” their credentials, meaning they obtain multiple certificates, expanding their job skills and work prospects.

Students in the new allied health program will take classes and get hands-on training in a lab that simulates a hospital or nursing home room setting.

The lab has hospital beds, an exam table, privacy curtains and dummies for students to practice on so they can learn how to care for and treat patients.

Students in the program receive a stipend while they take classes to work toward credentials. They earn a high school diploma or a GED as they receive training.

Students who get their medical assistant certificates are qualified for jobs that can pay $18 to $20 per hour, Farley said.

RELATED: YouthBuild gives opportunity

The program then places students in jobs out in the community, and staff continue to follow up with students for 12 months to make sure things are going smoothly and that they remain on the right track, Farley said.

Daybreak provides support services, like housing and mental health counseling, but it relies on YouthBuild to handle education and schooling expertise, officials said.

Some Daybreak youth who normally would not be eligible for YouthBuild educational and training programs because they finished high school or completed a GED can participate because of the partnership between the organizations.

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