YouthBuild may no longer be operational in Sonoma County, but Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County is still running an alternative school for out of school youths.

“Youth Connections” targets those 16 to 22 years old who are currently out of school.

“We offer them a second chance at a high school diploma,” said Jason Carter, program manager.

Students are sometimes young parents who dropped out or students who struggled in a mainstream setting and dropped out, Carter said.

The program focuses on getting students not only a high school diploma, but also access to career technical training, mentors, case management and service learning projects, he said.

The closure last spring of the larger YouthBuild program was a blow, but Carter said students need to know that options exist.

“We closed down June 30 of this year,” Carter said. “We just didn’t have the funding to do such an expensive program but the agency decided we need to serve this population.”

“We are still here,” he said. “It’s just a different program, different name.”

The new program opened Aug. 27.

The program is partially funded through a federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant but that ends in December.

“After that, it’s strictly through the John Muir Charter School out of Nevada County,” Carter said.

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