What It’s Like to Work in a Welding Skills Factory
While nearly 400,000 teenagers go into the juvenile justice system each year in the United States, few receive special attention beyond bail and bond, which are typically set at minimal amounts.
Before the National Community Justice Center at the City University of New York’s Lehman College launched its movable manufacturerspace, teenage offenders, some of whom had displayed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or suicide attempts, frequently clashed with other wards in the criminal justice system.
“We saw this whole mess going on with kids struggling to help other kids,” said Corinne Fox, a professor at the City University of New York’s college who was involved in the education programs of the nonprofits, the nonprofit organization the Work Project’s Racial Reconciliation and Youth Engineering Task Force, and the city’s NYC Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Youth.
She was asked to help put together a curriculum for the welderspace, which has been providing jobs for teenagers since summer 2013. “I work with at-risk youth quite a bit, and I found that boys and young men—like people in the general population—are really good at fixing things,” she said. “The welderspace is an important way for people to make them feel more involved and valued.”