Ben D. Johnson Educational Center Receives $30,000 Grant from International Paper

Funding will support the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program

The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center, (BDJ Center) received a $30,000 grant from International Paper. The BDJ Center is a pillar in the west Natchitoches community that provides young adults with a path out of poverty. Funds will be used for the Legacy Youth Workforce Development which supports young people ages 17-24 who are out of work and out of school by providing career development, life and leadership skills, and culinary training with support to overcome barriers to employment. Specifically, this grant will be used to create a learning lab in the Legacy garden, provide technology and software to enrich student’s educational/ distant learning, purchase COVID related supplies for students and provide scholarships for students who need and want the training, but may not qualify for federal funding. The BDJ Center is asking for community support to help get the word out about this training opportunity. Students receive a stipend in the amount of $25 a day while training and receive two meals daily.

“The most valuable things I have learned while being in the program are professionalism, communication, and so many life skills,” said Brittney Hamilton, a graduate of the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program. “It was tough to find a job without work experience or hands-on training, but now that I have those things, it really is a game changer. Now I have references, training, as well as my ServSafe Certification which has helped me out a lot in finding a job.”

The BDJ Center is currently recruiting students for their next class which starts February 1, 2020, and is asking the community to help spread the word. To learn more about the center and the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program, call (318) 460-7460.

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