The Youth Empowerment Project’s Trafigura Work & Learn (W&L) Center is modeled after the highly successful Work & Learn Center operated by Domus Kids in Stamford, CT (and is the second in the United States funded through the Trafigura Foundation). The Work & Learn Center, located in the Central City area of New Orleans, is a youth employment program comprised of several youth-run businesses. Working alongside YEP staff, youth are paid while they learn vital hard and soft skills which help them get and keep jobs. Through participating in the program, youth between the ages 16 and 24 gain valuable life skills, job training, soft skills and the confidence necessary to help them secure employment and create positive futures for themselves. Since the program's inception, nearly 40 percent of graduates have successfully transitioned into employment opportunities.
The Work & Learn Center operates four 12-week cycles during the year, with each cycle running two days a week for a total of four hours. Currently, the Trafigura Work & Learn Center offers students training in bicycle repair, including an all-girls cohort (which is the first in the world funded by the Trafigura Foundation) customer service and digital design. As part of this customer training curriculum, YEP opened the Trafigura Work & Learn Center Retail Store in December 2013, which you can read more about here.
The Trafigura Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Trafigura Group, one of the world's leading commodities trading and logistics companies. The Foundation sponsors partner organisations in carrying out and strengthening programmes in three areas of focus: sustainable development, education & integration, and health. It is committed to helping people and communities reach their full potential through self-sustaining solutions, such as setting up a small business or training to acquire new skills. In 2012 the Trafigura Foundation supported 44 programmes operated by 32 different partners across 31 countries spanning all continents. For more information please visit www.trafigurafoundation.com.