Local youth organization gets grant for hands-on learning

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg received the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.

The grant will provide five years of funding to support youth in the community.

Middle-school and high-school students will get the opportunity to receive hands-on learning from additional staff members, who can teach them about 3D printing or laser cutting, along with many other trades.

Andrew Dove, the director of innovation,will run the STEM program.

"Learning it now while they're young helps them out with their future goals say if they want to do something with helping with manufacturing this is where they can start," he said.

The funding will also allow the club to create a workforce-development program to teach students early job skills.

The Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg did a comprehensive needs assessment for all of the middle schools and high schools in the community.

The assessment found that Van Devender Middle had the most need, so the grant allows the club to partner with the school to provide additional support to students.

"So long term our hope is that we can connect our kids with great futures," Executive Director Ben Shuman said. "The students coming from Vandy may already have a good solid idea of what they want to do and we try to connect them with those opportunities here in our local community for that success."

Before the grant, the Boys and Girls club served 15 to 20 teens a night. With the grant, it can now serve up to 75 a day.

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