What’s happening: A new partnership has formed between a Memphis-based nonprofit and trades apprenticeship program, one that aims to provide career opportunities for local minority and at-risk youth. 

What it is: The Cultivating the Life of a Youth (CLAY) nonprofit has partnered with the Memphis Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) to create career pathways for young Memphians. It’s CLAY founder Greg Winston’s goal to simultaneously create economic opportunities for young people and reduce neighborhood crime rates, something that Winston believes go hand-in-hand.

Why it’s important: “Memphis is facing a multitude of challenges fueled by violence, neighborhood decay, and drugs. This is a unique, economically driven response,” says Winston, who is also founder of the BuyingDiverse.com website, an online platform for shopping products and services from minority-owned businesses. “We seek to help minority youth become the person they see in their dreams and realize their potential.”

How it works: The CLAY curriculum offers training, monthly engagement with participants and their parents, and access to apprenticeship programs. Partnering with the Memphis Electrical JATC provides participants a clear pathway to starting a career as an electrician.

Parents and families who are interested in learning more about how youth can benefit from program participation should contact info@clayinc.org.

What they’re saying: “History has shown us that when a city has a productive workforce, crime is reduced,” says Clovis Brown, Memphis Electrical JATC Training Director. “We’re thrilled to partner with CLAY and provide opportunities for high-quality training for people who are seeking support starting a new career.”

This article originally appeared on High Ground News.