By Betsy Finklea
Eugene Paige appeared before the Dillon County Council at their regular meeting to get a letter of support for a project that he is currently working on.
Paige said he has been looking at the problems with the youth and with the homeless veterans and came up with the idea to have a Dillon Veteran and Youth Training Center.
Paige said many veterans have a hard time transitioning from the war zone back to normal life and end up homeless. He wants to get the homeless veterans in one location and determine what skills they have. After identifying their skills, the center’s staff will help finetune them so that the veterans can pass the skills on to the youth.
The youth will be at-risk youth, 16 years older or older, who are in the court system and/or have misdemeanor charges pending.
The youth will go to a “boot camp” where they will get basic training and learn skills such as carpentry, masonry, etc. The program will last 10 months. Youth will get certified and come back to the area and work under a licensed contractor. The goal is for that youth to eventually branch out and start their own business. Paige said they will be taking the youth from a non-employed person to an employer. The youth will be monitored for 12 months after completing the process.
Paige said they are currently trying to identify a place to hold the program.
Council approved a letter of support upon a motion by Councilman Archie Scott and a second by Councilman Andrew Graves.
The letter of support does not financially obligate the county to the program.
For more information about the program, please contact Eugene Paige at 774-3769.
By Betsy Finklea