YouthBuild grad starts home improvement business

June 8th, 2020
Donald Young at the YouthBuild graduation in April 2019

Donald Young already had entrepreneurial designs when he enrolled in our YouthBuild program, but he was missing a piece to his plans that he knew YouthBuild could provide.

“I needed my GED and needed to prove to myself that I could get it,” said Donald, 24. “I didn’t want this to be a roadblock to my future and everything I want to do.”

Not only did Donald gain his GED in YouthBuild, he also was able to improve his hands-on construction techniques, even though he entered the program with strong skills in this area. YouthBuild is a pre-apprenticeship program that provides job training in the building trades as well as educational opportunities for youth ages 16-24 who have previously dropped out of high school. The program is free and is open to residents of Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck.

A tub and tile refinishing job by Donald, before and after. (Click for a larger photo.)

After graduating from YouthBuild last April, Donald pursued his own home-improvement business in earnest. The company is called Decora Developments and it specializes in tub and tile reglazing. It also does other home-improvement and landscaping work. Donald learned about reglazing from his uncle. For his own business, Donald does the work mostly by himself, though he is also training some family members to assist.

“Before the COVID crisis, I was working almost every day from the morning to late at night,” Donald said. “I was also getting more than a dozen calls a day for possible business. Everything stopped with COVID, but things are starting to pick up and I’m going to start advertising on Facebook and neighborhood apps again.”

Donald strongly recommends YouthBuild for youth like him who want to get into the construction trades and who also need to complete the GED.

“The instructors in the program really care about the students and want the best for our futures,” Donald said.

The YouthBuild staff are excited and proud about Donald’s success.

“Having Donald in our program brought enthusiasm and inspiration to all of us,” said Kartav Patel, who manages YouthBuild at Southwest Solutions. “Donald is an ambitious young adult with a thirst for knowledge. He has a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart to help others.”

After his home-improvement business is well established, Donald intends to go to college and study in the scientific field. He also hopes to use his many talents to establish several other businesses.

“Ten years from now, I want to have at least four successful businesses, including a clothing line, a record-label and a restaurant,” Donald said. “There’s a lot of opportunity in Detroit for someone like me. I like being my own boss.”

To learn more about YouthBuild, call 313-733-1173 or email. Our goal is to start orientation for our next cohort on June 22.

YouthBuild is a partnership of YouthBuildSEMCAMichigan Works!Detroit at WorkMichigan HRDi, and Southwest Solutions.

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