Dunwoody College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) held its twentieth graduation ceremony Friday, Aug. 15. The ceremony honored 165 high school students from Minneapolis, St. Paul and other parts of the metro area who completed the six-week YCAP summer session.
The ceremony featured a keynote speech by Benito Matias, former YCAP Manager and executive director of Dunwoody Academy , a Minneapolis charter high school with an emphasis on technical education. Matias is an inaugural graduate of the YCAP program.
The four-year YCAP program focuses on under-represented students, particularly students of color, who have completed ninth grade and have the potential and or desire to succeed in a technical career. In addition to introducing students to the technical programs available at Dunwoody, YCAP helps students improve their math, English and study skills and requires them to complete several community service projects. This year’s group worked with such organizations as People Serving People, the Salvation Army and the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center.
But it’s not all work. Students visit local businesses, including this year a trip to Best Buy to hear Erving “Magic” Johnson speak . There was also a celebratory visit to Valleyfair and a new experience for some of the students – a camping trip to Boy Scouts of America Camp Sterns in South Haven, MN.
More than 1,100 youth have participated in YCAP over the past two decades. Students must be in good standing with their schools and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Students who complete the summer program receive a $600 stipend, and those who complete the four-year YCAP program receive a scholarship to attend Dunwoody College upon graduation from high school and successful application to the College.