The YouthBuild Program for Choctaw County provides educational instruction, occupational skills training, classroom and hands on construction training for at-risk youth ages 16-24 who have previously dropped out of high school, are adjudicated, are aging out of foster care, possess a disability, are homeless, or qualify as at risk participants. YouthBuild simultaneously addresses issues facing low-income communities including housing, education, employment and leadership development.

The YouthBuild program combines academics with career training, leadership development, and community service at no cost to our students. Participants work toward obtaining their GED or high school diploma, learn marketable job skills, leadership skills and will serve their communities by assisting in the construction of affordable housing through the 502 Self-Help Housing program.

During the 16-week program, participants will spend 50 percent of their time engaged in education instruction, 40 percent of their time applying construction skills learned to aid low-income families with building a home, and the remaining 10 percent participating in meaningful community service projects.  Students will alternate days in Penn Foster High School or GED Classroom instruction and construction training; leadership building activities; community service projects and other aspects of the YouthBuild program. YouthBuild participants will receive monetary incentives based on performance while in the program.

YouthBuild Program participants will receive approximately a combined 600 hours of education instruction, occupational skills training, and leadership development activities with an additional twelve months of follow-up services.

Jami Reich – Program Director 
Becky Powers– Case Manager 
Ethan Carroll – Construction Instructor 
Alisha Anderson– Job Developer 


2204 East Jackson Street
Hugo, OK 74743
(580) 326-9490



Success Stories

Matt’s Story

Matt’s Story

Former YouthBuild Student Helps with Facility Renovations for the new Choctaw County YouthBuild Program. It was more than a decade...

YouthBuild Core Components and Program Information


The academic component assists youth to obtain a General Education Degree (GED). A Certified Teacher will provide GED preparation classes and academic classes. Students will have an individual educational plan used to structure instruction based on areas of each participants need.

Students will split their time between the vocational training work site and the classroom, where they study to earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree, learn to be community leaders, and prepare for post-secondary training opportunities, including college, apprenticeships, and employment.


Occupational Skills Training


YouthBuild participants will receive Occupational and Construction Skills Training including Carpentry; Bricklaying/Stone Masonry; Electrical; Building Maintenance; Roofing; Plumbing; Blueprint Reading; Rehabilitation and Repair; and Painting in a classroom setting and then through hands-on construction of 13 separate homes for low- and very low-income families throughout Choctaw County, which includes Hugo, Soper, Fort Towson, Bowell, Sawyer, Grant and Swink. This construction training is in partnership with the 502 Self-Help Housing Program..
The Key Train Occupational Skills Training System and the National Career Readiness Certificate, will be utilized for classroom instruction, which includes the following Key Train courses:  Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, Applied Technology, Writing, Listening, Business Writing, Observation, Teamwork and Workplace Observation.
Participants will engage in “job-shadowing” with other industry professionals to include bricklayers; electricians, plumbers, framing contractors, painters, cabinetry carpenters and more. Successful completion of this training will result in participants obtaining credentials in Home builders Institute Pre-Apprentice Certificate Training and OSHA.The occupational skills training component prepares youth to gain placement into career pathways and/or further education or training.


Leadership Development

YouthBuild participants will participate in quality community service learning projects and activities that encourage leadership development. The Case Manager/Job Developer will provide curriculum-based leadership development classes to participant including how to budget finances, understanding board governance, understanding roles in the community as responsible and productive citizens, the importance of exercising their right to vote, the importance of civic participation, how to be a positive role model for other youth, life skills training’s, and much more.
Challenges, that may include lack of reliable transportation or childcare, homelessness, substance abuse and/or mental health issues in the personal lives of the participants, often create obstacles to obtaining education and occupational skills. YouthBuild Case Managers will provide participants with problem-solving life skills and support services that can help recognize and overcome challenges that may stand in the way of their success.
The ultimate goal for our program participants is a successful transition into the workforce and/or post-secondary education.

Community Service

Giving back to the community is an essential part of the YouthBuild experience.
Time is set aside each week for participants to experience leadership and community service activities through secured partnerships with local and state organizations. Community service projects will focus on community improvements in low-income areas as well as other sites throughout the City. All of the projects will work to benefit low-income residents and communities, as well as improve the quality and energy efficiency of community and other non-profit public facilities, including those used to serve homeless and low-income families.

Who is Eligible?

Are you:

  • Between the ages of 16 and 24 years of age?
  • Do you live in Choctaw County?
  • Interested in the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED?
  • Interested in receiving career training, leadership and development skills and earn a paycheck while doing so?

If you are interested in applying to participate in the YouthBuild program please click on the red button below to print an application.

LIFT CAA’s YouthBuild Program will collaborate with Southeastern Oklahoma State University Educational Opportunity Center, Oklahoma State University Extension office and Kiamichi Technology Centers’ Hugo Campus to link YouthBuild participants to local colleges and trade schools, as well as provide effective career readiness services. Other partners include City of Hugo, LIFT CAA Self-Help Housing and Men of Faith. These partners have committed to providing leadership training and community service learning opportunities for the YouthBuild participants.

YouthBuild Partners assist students in a number of ways including: Completing federal financial aid applications; Providing academic and career assessments with the use of tools such as COPS, CAPS, COPES, and TABE; Assisting clients with admission forms, scholarship information, and class schedules; Interview skills training and resume building; Enhancing marketability and employability; Career counseling; Providing graduates with tours of colleges and vocational schools, as well as opportunities for higher education; and providing additional supportive services to help increase the graduate’s probability of success, such as tutoring, test prep, time management, and study skills seminars.

Application and Useful Information

LIFT Community Action Agency is currently accepting applications for participation in the Choctaw County YouthBuild Program.

If you are interested in applying to participate in the program, applications are available at 2204 East Jackson Street, Hugo, OK 74743 or you may also print and complete the attached application within this link.

Please return the completed application and a copy of the necessary documentation to
2204 North Jackson Street
Hugo, OK 74743

OR you can mail the completed application and a copy of the necessary documentation to
209 North 4th Street
Hugo, OK 74743


For additional information regarding the Choctaw County YouthBuild Program, please contact

Program Director-Jami Reich
2204 East Jackson Street
Hugo, OK 74743
(580) 326-9490

Case Manager-Melissa Waterman
2204 East Jackson Street
Hugo, OK 74743
(580) 326-9490

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