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Men and Women United for Youth and Families offers education and employment assistance for Brunswick County

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By Brian Slattery

Men and Women United for Youth and Families (MWUYF) will start their second year assisting high risk youth in Brunswick County schools in 2014.

But Randolph Keaton, director of MWUYF, wants to remind county residents the non-profit organization also offers employment training to Bladen, Columbus and Brunswick County residents out of their office in Delco.

MWUFY began working with the county high schools to help students receive educational/employment training as part of a program funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

They received $135,000 to bring programs into Columbus and Brunswick county schools to help students 16-21 years old who are: below their current grade level, have reading and math deficiencies or have dropped out of school; pregnant or already have children; homeless, runaways or are in foster care; criminal offenders; or in need of assistance to complete an education program or acquire and retain employment.

The program was originally split 50/50 between the two counties, with one case manager hired to assist 25 students in each county.

“We’ve expanded the program. We were able to hire full time case managers for each county and we are serving 100 students,” Keaton said.

The Cape Fear Council of Governments funded the program for fiscal year 2013 through the Workforce Development Board, Keaton added.

In the first year of the program, the MWUFY case managers were able to work with students on the their school campus.

Keaton said they will be able to expand to work with students at off-campus sites in the new year.

They will begin by working with students at the Leland library.

“The program through the WIA is in schools but we can also offer expanding it to more locations for youth that are in school or out of school,” Keaton said.

“There could be graduates of high school who need assistance or dropouts from high school who need assistance.”

Keaton said there is also a program to provide employment assistance for those ages 18 and up through the MWUFY called Moving Forward.

“We have (resources) available for folks 18 and above that have had issues with substance abuse or have mental health issues that have created barriers to employment,” Keaton said.

“We have a case manager who is located at the office and can make home visits.”

They also offer the Tri-County job center in the Delco office.

Keaton said with layoffs at DAK Americas and Vista, their Delco office has received an influx of people coming to their job center.

The MWUFY job center can help work on resumes, job applications and provide assistance maneuvering through the state’s unemployment system online for those who are unfamiliar with it.

MWUFY also helps people enter GED classes, computer classes, career readiness and job seeking classes at Southeast Community College and the Brunswick Community College Leland campus.

Their goal is to provide assistance for those in need.

Services they provide include employment information and training, a food bank, benefits applications, Medicaid filing, financial aid applications for students and voter registration, all on-site.

“We look at the whole situation, the whole person – what are their greatest needs. We try to figure that out so no ne leaves confused about what they need to do next,” Keaton said.

“If they come in for help with their resume, we can help with that and with other issues they might have.”

MWUFY is located at 44 Dream Ave. in Delco.

For more information go to the MWUFY Facebook page - ww.facebook.com/pages/Men-and-Women-United-for-Youth-and-Families.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.