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The City of Danville joined on Monday with Averett University’s Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness, Danville Community College, River District Auto Spa and River District Barbershop to launch an initiative that will bring skill-based classes and career shadowing opportunities to residents of Cabin Creek, a 198-unit development in the north side of Danville.
It is a model that they hope to extend to other neighborhoods.
“We are breaking barriers for residents in the community – the first being Cabin Creek,” said Robert David, gang violence prevention and youth services coordinator for the City of Danville. “We are breaking the barrier of access. For many, just getting to a college campus is a barrier. Also, understanding what they need to do to get on the career path of their choice is a barrier.”
David said the Cabin Creek Initiative is designed to attract at-risk teens and young adults, but will be open to older residents in the community.
Wilkins & Co. Realtors, which manages the Cabin Creek units, will provide use of the Cabin Creek community center for the orientation information and career shadowing sessions led by staff from Danville Community College (DCC), River District Auto Spa and River District Barbershop.
The sessions are free of charge.
Beginning April 9 and then continuing each Tuesday for six weeks, the community center will host five, one-hour sessions from noon to 5 p.m. Information will be provided on cosmetology, heating and air conditioning, automotive, printing and graphic design, welding, barbering, and auto detailing and rim work.
Each session will begin at the center, but then Danville Transit’s Reserve-A-Ride service will transport Cabin Creek residents so that they can shadow class and work activity at DCC, River District Auto Spa, and River District Barbershop.
The Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness is serving as the hub by bringing together all of the community partners involved in the Cabin Creek Initiative.
Billy Wooten, the center’s executive director, said the initiative is the perfect way to provide skill-based classes to people who need them and do not know what resources are available to them.
“Instead of them coming to us, we are coming to them,” Wooten said. “We want to break down the barriers, and show them that we care about them and are willing to meet them where they are.”
The DCC programs are offered through its SCALE UP program. SCALE UP, which stands for “Success Credentialing Assistance Leading to Employment and Upending Poverty,” is a short-term career-training program designed to help at-risk youth and low-income adults achieve economic independence through work.
Barry Mayo, the recruiter for SCALE UP, said this initiative will open a door for many.
“When they finish this program, they will be in a position to move forward with the career path they choose,” Mayo said. “This initiative is a way to let these residents know that there are programs available to them.”
River District Auto Spa and River District Barbershop are located at 136 Ridge St. and are owned and operated by Von Wellington. He opened the barbershop in 2015 and the car cleaning business in 2016 to provide job and career opportunities for others.
The Cabin Creek Initiative also includes reentry programs that assist felons with job placement.
Larry Jones, president of the Cabin Creek Unit Owners Association, said many kids in the neighborhood would benefit from this program.
“We are happy to see this program come to this community,” Jones said. “We have kids here who this program can help. We are going to get the word out. We are going to make this work.”