WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - More than 500 kids will have a new place to learn trade skills.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for a new addition to Kids Making It, a Wilmington nonprofit that provides mentoring programs for at-risk youth.
"This new building will be used to teach HVAC skills, plumbing, electrician skills, construction skills to our older teens," said Kids Making it Founder Jimmy Pierce.
The current location is housed at Sixth and Castle streets in downtown Wilmington. The new, $500,000, two-story property will be built next door.
"There is a great need for skilled construction workers, not only in this town, but all across the country and we have a number of young people that would rather do that, and make a good living working with their hands than go to college," Pierce said.
In 1994, Pierce came up with the idea for Kids Making It, and set up a workshop in his backyard, where he worked with only one child.
Seeing the program grow to this magnitude is rewarding.
"I never thought this would happen," Pierce said. "I can be low some days but when I walk in the shop and see the smiles on the kids' faces, it's amazing," Pierce said.
Kids Making It works with about 500 children.