New initiative supports Reno's homeless youth

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Dustin Yuhas knows what it's like to be out in the cold.

"I was homeless before I came to the Eddy House," he says. "The Eddy House inspired me to get a job and get my own place."

Yuhas credits the staff at Eddy House for encouraging him to find work at a call center. But now, he wants more. He wants a career.

A new partnership just announced between Eddy House (a 2018 KOLOCares Pillar Partner) and JOIN Inc. would provide people like Yuhas and other homeless youth with the workforce training they need to get jobs that require certain certificates and skills.

"JOIN is all about training Nevadans for careers, and one of the biggest components that we have to offer is we remove the financial barriers to post-secondary education in-demand skills training for young adults in our community," says Denise Castle, Executive Director of JOIN Inc. "When you hear the stories and the circumstances and situations of these young homeless adults, they deserve our time, attention, resources and guidance."

JOIN staff members have already been meeting with some of the young people who go to Eddy House for services. They are building those relationships so they can help the kids find jobs and get them the connections they need. And there's a bonus; the partnership could also help fill positions in areas facing a serious shortage of workers, like the construction industry.

"We represent 800 contractors statewide and every one of them has needs on the labor side, so we see this as another amazing opportunity," says Aaron West, CEO of Nevada Builders Alliance, which has a history of working with JOIN.

"The kids really want an opportunity to get a job, live a normal life, and be self-supportive and productive members of our community, and this is what Eddy House does and JOIN does," says Michelle Gehr, Executive Director of Eddy House. "They'll have more opportunities."