Harkin wants to expand Sioux City youth program nationwide - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Harkin wants to expand Sioux City youth program nationwide


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Earlier this summer, we introduced you to a group of students doing some heavy lifting as they work toward their high school diplomas.

"Youth Build" was the one of the first programs of its kind in the country when it started in 2007.

Students who couldn't make it in a "traditional" classroom finish their studies while also completing construction projects for the community.

Senator Tom Harkin sat on the congressional committee that sought funding for the program in 2006, and is now working to expand it nationwide.

"I've always felt very strongly that there are a lot of young people that for various reasons drop out of school, don't quite make it, but if given another chance, and especially an opportunity to do something where they're working with their hands and actually building things, that this might get them back on that ladder of opportunity," Harkin said.

Seventy-three students have been through the program. They say the learning environment is more flexible than a normal high school.

"Up in high school, it's more like routine. You have it scheduled, where here you have an option to do... you can do math right now, or switch up, or take a break," said participant Eva Barron.

Barron is one of many students in the program who say they plan to continue their education after graduation.

President Barack Obama helped develop Youth Build during his time in the Senate. He's asked for funding for the program to be doubled.

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