neighbors helping neighbors, rebuilding communities
Offering Low-Income Home Renovations and on-the-job training
Many houses in Windham and New London counties are aging. Many of these were built more than 100 years ago and are in dire need of home improvement. Flood damage, termite destruction, and general deterioration have created nearly unlivable conditions for many families.
We know that for low-income earners, earning enough money to feed their families is hard enough, let alone finding money to renovate and improve their homes. With a shortage of low-cost or free services to assist them, having a house they truly consider a home might feel like a hopeless dream.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Neighborhood Renovation and Training Programs in Norwich, Connecticut was established in 2012 to help underprivileged families repair their homes. Our renovation program is designed to keep labor costs as low as possible, even free, so that residents can remodel their living spaces and realize their dream of having safe homes that they can also be proud of.
We also help young individuals obtain their diplomas and provide them with job training to get a better chance at getting hired. Our apprentices learn carpentry skills from our highly qualified trainers who have more than 40 years of combined experience in carpentry.
For people without a diploma and a strong skill set, there is a low probability of finding a sustainable job that pays well, especially in today’s difficult economic climate. Our apprenticeship program is designed to give individuals who want to complete their GED the support they need to earn their diploma while giving them a skill set that will give them an edge in the job market
We realize that families living in dilapidated neighborhoods cannot fully thrive until the neighborhood sees a significant reduction in these deteriorating houses. Crime, school dropouts, alcoholism, prostitution, and drug abuse can be reduced if the neighborhood is made to appear less neglected.
Our target areas are towns that have the greatest need in the Windham County, such as Willimantic, Dayville, Putnam, and Brooklyn. We may go as far as Norwich to Willimantic to Thompson, Connecticut. We realize that these towns, especially the town of Willimantic, have one of the highest poverty rates and the highest dropout rates.
This is one of the main reasons why we are affiliated with Christian Life Assembly church in Willimantic. It is easy for our apprentices and families to commute to our location to gain access to our services.
The advantage for homeowners, landlords, and programs such as the Housing Urban Development (HUD) is that our service provides free-to-low labor costs for low-income residents to remodel their homes or buildings. As a result, this will provide on-the-job training for our apprentices, beautify our neighborhoods, and, at the same time, make labor costs affordable to those who needs this the most.
Another goal, in the near future, is to open a store that sells handmade indoor and outdoor wood furniture that will be built in the same location and the apprentices will be trained to build these furnishings.
Our educational and vocational training program is an essential part of our organization; we realize that our apprentices cannot obtain a career without a high school program or appropriate construction skills.
We have access to various builders, from small contractors to multi-million dollar construction firms, and are aware of the kinds of skills that they are looking for in an apprenticeship program. These companies would therefore be willing to hire our apprentices once the students have completed the program.
Let’s discuss the educational side of our organization, which is our General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D) program. We would begin with an assessment of each apprentice to determine their strengths and weaknesses in relation to each subject criteria and then we would focus on their weakest educational topics, then their strongest topics.
Some of the target areas that will be assessed are reasoning through Language, Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. These forms of assessment are based upon the content specification of the common core standards which is a required educational standard curriculum throughout a majority of the school systems in this country.
We would have a curriculum based on each student’s educational needs and benchmark goals that they must meet in order for that apprentice to obtain their diploma. Since the G.E.D. testing is all computer based, a majority of our G.E.D. training will be computer based.
One of the main reasons why many G.E.D. programs fail is that there isn’t an incentive for their student to stay in the program. We have three motivational incentives that will keep our students focused on obtaining their diploma.
We provide a stipend of $150.00 per week per apprentice while they are in our program and on track to complete their educational goals. These students may be currently living in a very financially poor household and, for this reason, providing a financial incentive may further motivate our students to be successful in our program.
On-the-job training is a great incentive since this gives them the opportunity to be employed at the end of our program. They would be in contact every week with potential employers, including Neighborhood Renovation and Training Programs, which they would be working with on various construction projects; they will realize that there is a future after successfully obtaining their diploma.
We provide counseling services to students who need psychological support to overcome their current hardship. For those students that are dealing with learning issues such as ADHD, we would provide an educational therapist that can help the tutors and educators of Neighborhood Renovation and Training Programs to best teach these students effectively.
Our mission is to help improve the quality of life for low-income residents/families through low-cost, high-quality home renovations while providing skill-specific training in construction and education assistance to young individuals seeking their high school diploma.
Our vision is to give young people the tools they need for success and create safer homes for low-income residents of Windham and New London counties.
“Thank you for making it possible to make important renovations to my house. I am a senior who was going thru some tough times. My house was aging and falling apart. Because you worked with me on the renovations I was able to get them done. My house is becoming beautiful and a healthier environment for me, Thank you guys, you were professional, honest and efficient.”
-E. Collins, Pomfret, Connecticut
This group paid close attention to detail! Every step in the process was carefully thought out
and executed. Once the students finished every section setup, they made sure to get approval
from their teacher before they began drilling any portion. The teacher made sure to guide the
students without micromanaging them, allowing the students to work with confidence. My family
and I were treated with respect throughout the entire project. The open communication was
absolutely appreciated. This may be a group of students but you wouldn’t be able to tell due to
their level of professionalism.
Thank you all,
The Manso Family
New London, CT
About the Founder
When I was at the age of 19, I struggled to find a training program that provides on-the-job training, educational assistance for me to obtain my General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D). I was unemployed without a high school diploma and unsure of my future career goals. Reflecting on my past struggles, I realize that there are many individuals that are currently facing the same disadvantages that I went through. I decided to start such a program in the Northeast area of Connecticut with the same mission in mind. Neighborhood Renovations and Training Program Inc (NRTP) has three mission emphasis; Provide educational assistance to obtain a diploma, on-the-job training, and repairing homes for low-income families in need. NRTP not only provide educational assistance and on-the-job training but we also provide transition assistance for those that need guidance into their career goals, and independent living skills.
I have worked in various construction occupations such as a carpenter, project manager, estimator and project engineer. I later earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from Central Connecticut State University. I later found a passion in Special Education, so I earned my master’s degree in Special Education specialized in Inclusion and Transition.
Neighborhood Renovation and Training Program Inc is a not-for-profit 360 degree of support for individuals, families and communities. We collaborate with various organizations, programs and educational institution to further our mission. That is why our slogan still remain true, ‘Neighbors helping Neighbors, rebuilding communities’.
Transition Process of Program
Our apprentices will be acquired from local school districts that are on the verge of being expelled and individuals on probation that need a new education and career pathway. Most of our apprentices will be between the ages of 17 – 21 years of age and the person-centered planning will be the perfect transition tool to determine the right path for these individuals.
We will follow the steps of designing a specific plan for these individuals, create an action plan & vision for our apprentices, periodic meetings with apprentice and family members to determine if the plan is working, and a systematic plan to satisfy our apprentice goals for their future. For those apprentices that has a disability such as a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotional and behavioral issues; These apprentices will be provided certain accommodations, modifications on certain tests and extended time during testing, and during academic time.
NRTP will assist our apprentices with employment and post-secondary education. We will collaborate with local businesses and colleges to help our apprentices with job opportunities, and educational needs. Although our program is geared towards careers in the construction field, we can help our apprentice gain employment in other trades based on their individual’s goals. Part of our transition goal is to empower our apprentices to be self-determined; From classroom environment and jobsite, we create a self-advocacy plan for our apprentices to be independent and to help them have a successful independent living for many decades to come.