Project LIFT Summer Programming Trains Hundreds in Skilled Trades

Palm City, Fl-August 18, 2021-Searching for that elusive work ethic within the younger generation? All you had to do was drive by the Project LIFT campus in Palm City on any given day this summer, and you would find upwards of 80 teens and young adults working on a real time, fully functional construction site building tiny houses, operating small machinery, welding, building an outdoor kitchen, learning solar panel installation, and much more.  In July alone, Project LIFT served almost 250 teens and young adults using its innovative combination of vocational training and social-emotional skills building. In addition to the non-profit’s award-winning evidence-based programming for at-risk teens, Project LIFT launched an intensive Industry Boot Camp program this summer, piloting 2 camps with 50 participants, and partnering with local organizations and business leaders to train and employ young adults in more than 15 skilled trades, including Solar Installation, Welding, and Carpentry.

A mentor from Guaranteed Garage Repair trains a teen during a Skilled Trades Boot Camp held at Project LIFT in Palm City.

Certifications were an integral component of the Boot Camp program. “We were able to enhance our hands-on training by giving participants the opportunity to earn certifications, including NCCER and OSHA 10, which equips them with construction knowledge and safety awareness that employers recognize and value”, said Project LIFT Chief Operating Officer Chris Jackson. In keeping with Project LIFT’s disruptive model of service delivery, not only did participants not pay anything to attend the camps, they received a paycheck for the hands-on training they engaged in, a strategy that motivates and encourages the youth to meet goals. This approach also models a workplace in real time and teaches financial accountability in preparation for every aspect of employment, including understanding the process of clocking in and out and recognizing withholdings for taxes. Along with hands-on training, participants must be clean and sober and exhibit positive work ethic coupled with social emotional growth to earn a paycheck.

Welding was among the trades taught to more than 250 youth during summer programming at Project LIFT. Photo: Steven Martine

“Our world has changed, and requires an innovative approach to workforce development”, said Project LIFT CEO Bob Zaccheo. “This project was fueled by partnerships with local industry and trade organizations like the Treasure Coast Builders Association lending their time and talent to inspire and mentor the next generation of skilled workers. By pairing new and experienced tradespeople as intergenerational learning partners, institutional knowledge transfer is expedited, benefitting both the organization and the industry, and resulting in guaranteed employment and a living wage for participants.”

Project LIFT is adding more Industry Boot Camps to its offerings, starting with a Marine Industry Camp that will partner with local leaders in the industry for hands-on training in marine engines, carbon infusion, welding, and more. Project LIFT provides a social emotional leadership curriculum component to complement the hands-on learning that utilizes evidence based models of leadership and character. Project LIFT also provides industry partners with ongoing Employee Assistance Programs.

For more information about Project LIFT’s Industry Boot Camps or vocational training and mental health programming, please call 772-221-2244.

About Project LIFT: With a strong focus on vocational training, job readiness, and employability, Project LIFT works to impact industry by equipping potential employees with social- emotional learning strategies in hands-on, high touch  industry shop settings that produce real shop outputs. Project LIFT’s innovative delivery of mental health services provides therapy through the unique platform of vocational training. At no cost, at- risk teens and young adults engage in hands- on training in: welding, HVAC, solar installation, construction, auto repair, screen printing and more, while licensed therapists work with them to address issues including depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma. For more information, visit

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