The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education held a special called meeting Monday afternoon to approve a pilot project with Alamance Community College, Judicial District 15A, the Alamance Sheriff’s Office, local police agencies, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety - Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Roots and Wings, Inc. to help at-risk youth through the Alamance Juvenile Opportunity Bridge (AJOB).
“If a young person receives a petition or is charged as a juvenile they are 40% more likely to commit crimes as an adult and go through the adult justice system. Our goal is to keep them from going through the judicial process by partnering with Alamance Community College to refocus them and spark hope and give them a chance,” said Alamance County District Court Judge Larry Brown, Jr.
The AJOB program aims to offer a maximum of 30 youth (at-risk youth and those adjudicated juveniles on probation with misdemeanor offenses) an option of taking Alamance Community College career exploration classes (i.e., cosmetology, mechanical, nursing, electrical, HVAC, culinary arts, plumbing, auto repair, etc.) in lieu of performing traditional community service hours.
“This is a great way to redirect these youth who get in trouble at school and hopefully put them on a path to success. I’m also hopeful this program will help them develop skills to become productive adults,” said Sandy Ellington-Graves, ABSS Board Chair.
Additionally, Alamance Community College has agreed to provide weekly career exploration classes, including soft skills training that includes financial literacy, time management, and job behavior training. Those in the program will also be offered some hands-on experience with local industries.
“Everybody wins with AJOB. The student, their family, ABSS, the community college, and our community. Having people more educated means less crime. We’re excited to be working with all of the partners to develop this program which we hope will be a model for the rest of the state,” Dr. Algie Gatewood, ACC President.
The program is being funded initially through a $60,000 grant from Impact Alamance with hopes of getting additional grants from the Governor’s Crime Commission.