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Mayor Gray Cuts the Ribbon on Achievement Center

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Redesigned building to serve as a place for workforce development and education for DYRS youth

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services BB Otero, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander, and Department of General Services Director Brian Hanlon, joined with Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS0 youth and community members today to cut the ribbon on the Achievement Center. The center will serve as a central place for DYRS youth to attain workforce development skills and certifications in areas like culinary arts, food safety and handling; bicycle repair; dog training; and photography as well as academic assistance, including GED classes. The Achievement Center – a LEED-certified building – also has space for DYRS community based vendors to provide direct services to youth.

“This is possible because of the hard work being done by DYRS’s staff, DYRS youth, and our DYRS families – hard work that is leading to record lows in all public-safety metrics, including rearrests, recidivism, and deadly violence,” Mayor Gray said. “And while these outcomes are great, I’d like to note that your hard work is also leading to record highs in Positive Youth Justice Outcomes, such as preparing youth for the workforce, helping them succeed in school, and improving their relationships with their families. Now, we have young people attending college fairs and gainfully employed in the private and public sectors.”

The Achievement Center, among other things, features:

  • A state-of-the-art culinary center that teaches youth proper food handling and cooking skills.
  • A fully equipped music room that allows youth to create and produce their own music.
  • A flexibly designed space for youth to engage with staff and one another, take workforce development classes and learn about small business development.

“Before the Achievement Center, our young people had to travel to a variety of locations to receive services like tutoring, mentoring and workforce readiness training, in addition to attending school or GED classes,” Mayor Gray said. “We had success, but we knew we could do better. Centralizing services for youth and families was a vision and one we knew we could make a reality.”