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Rawhide successfully combines job training, behavioral health support

Job training that includes behavioral health is one of many ways Rawhide helps to heal and support the youth they serve. Often, the kids who need help the most are denied community programs because of their past. They may not get the support they need to learn career skills or receive technical training — leading to unemployment or not achieving their fullest potential. A recent study showed that over one-third of those with mental illness made less than $10,000 a year, well below the federal poverty level. Mental Health Awareness Month, which is May, is a great time to highlight this organization.

At Rawhide, youth can participate in culinary, welding and automotive behavioral health job training programs. Classes are also open to students in need at New London and Shiocton high schools. Instructors are trained in working with at-risk youth, including CARES (Children and Residential Experiences), trauma-informed care, non-escalation, de-escalation and crisis management. Students are coached in resume writing and interview practice, behavior management and interpersonal skills. Many youth who have struggled to succeed in either vocational courses or hands-on experience find the support and confidence they so desperately need. Youth who complete the job training program feel like they can do something worthwhile with their future.

As one student shared, “I was allowed to be myself. It was here that, in a world of crushing darkness, I finally found an eternal light. I found someone who believed in me and was there to tell me that I’m not a loser. My dreams aren’t impossible.”

Rawhide was supported by a $7,500 grant from the Waupaca Area Community Foundation in 2023 for its programming. More than two dozen funds within the Community Foundation supported the organization over the last couple of years. Through the funders’ support and the dedication of Rawhide’s instructors, lives of at-risk youth are being changed every day

The Waupaca Area Community Foundation  is one of five geographic affiliates we partner with in the Fox Valley. Our other partners include Brillion Area Family of Funds, Chilton Area Community Foundation, Clintonville Area Foundation  and Shawano Area Community Foundation.




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