Gaston Workforce Development Program


YouthWorks is Gaston County's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program for youth. YouthWorks is a year-round employment and training program for both in-school and out-of-school at-risk youth ages 14 - 21.  The program provides both academic and career related experiences designed to expose youth to the world of work, and to help them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to obtain a job and advance in employment.

Gearing Up For Life!

The programs and activities that are planned and organized for youth accepted into the YouthWorks program and meet certain eligibility requirements are organized into two groups:
[ In-School Youth ]  and  [ Out-of-School Youth ]

In-School Youth

The following programs and activities are planned and held for in-school students upon being accepted into the YouthWorks program.

  • tutoring & mentoring
  • classroom evaluation & goal setting
  • summer work and training activities

(job experience, classroom instruction)

  • community service projects
  • rewards & incentives

Out-of-School Youth

Want Your GED or Adult High School (AHS) Diploma?  Youth who left school prior to graduating  who also meet YouthWorks eligibility requirements can get help in preparing for taking the GED exam, or assistance with fees to attend the Adult High School Program at Gaston College.

The program for out-of-school youth consists of:

  • instructor led GED class
  • practice tests for the official GED exam
  • payment of testing fees
  • purchase of books to attend AHS
  • one-on-one tutoring
  • advanced training after obtaining your GED
  • goal setting





Who is eligible and what happens when a youth is accepted to the program?

Youth of ages 14 - 21 who are determined to be of "low income" status (as defined by WIA legislation) and who meet one or more of the following categories are eligible to participate:  school dropout; homeless, runaway or foster child; pregnant or parenting; offender; an individual (including youth with disability) who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program or to secure and hold employment.  Separate "In-School Youth" and "Out-of-School Youth" programs exist that are designed to assist youth in improving their educational aptitude and employability skills.

Once the youth has been accepted into the program and placed in a job setting, an "adult mentor" is assigned to work with the youth.   The mentor's job is to assist the youth with questions or concerns, as well as, be a friend and advocate.  Acting as a "job coach", the mentor provides support to the youth through on-site and off-site assistance, and modeling and reinforcing the appropriate behaviors and skills.  Mentors work closely with the youth and their employers to ensure that the youth "employees" are learning and performing their job as expected.  Mentors will provide continued support and follow-up to all youth in the program.

What are the duties of YouthWorks staff?

The YouthWorks staff is committed to providing youth participants with well organized activities and services that enable them to grow their educational and employment skills and aptitudes. 

The staff's activities include planning and coordinating activities and events; efforts bringing together local workforce training providers, businesses, community organizations and other groups to provide services and funding; participating in local career fair to help educate the public about the programs; following up with employers and trainers on the youth's progress; and participating with the youth in fun activities rewarding youth for their hard work and efforts.

Who are the YouthWorks key staff contacts?

Be sure and visit the YouthWorks official web site link above and don't hesitate to contact (or email) Lisa Buser or Brad Mulkey with any questions you may have about the Gaston YouthWorks program!

Gaston County Dept. of Human Services
330 N. Marietta St., Gastonia, NC 28052
(704) 862-7525

Lisa Buser, Youth Services Coordinator

Brad Mulkey, Youth Services Coordinator