ICAST receives help from handicapped youth for project in New Mexico

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ICAST is very proud of the green retrofit work it recently completed on 6 apartment properties in New Mexico that will save over 20,000 therms annually. Located in Donna Ana County, they are close to El Paso, Texas on the New Mexico border. The properties are owned and managed by Medlock Properties and are all multifamily affordable housing properties under the USDA-RD program with LITHC funding, making them ideal clients for ICAST.

In addition to the projects yielding ~$72,000 in utility bill savings from the implemented green upgrades, as part of the New Mexico Gas DSM program, the project was engaged the Youth-Build program that provides paid apprenticeships to disadvantaged youth.  The group of youth from the El Paso Youth-Build program were special because of their physical disability. ICAST’s Construction Project Manager in New Mexico, Jeremiah Weil Spoke highly of them, and had this to say:

“We had 5 Students help us recently that had some challenges others don’t normally face. There were three students who were deaf; Moises, Paul, and Mathew; and two with a rough background; Ricardo and Tommy. Moises and Paul needed little direction and were extremely excited to be working and gaining experience. Moises is a natural leader who took it upon himself to keep Mathew engaged and move the team along.  He would also be the first to complete his task and help others with theirs in each unit. I was actually sad that I couldn’t take him home with me or at least to continue working with us. I asked my wife if we could adopt him as I understand he has no parents, unfortunately he is an adult and I cannot.

Ricardo and Tommy are both introverts which took a while to get them to come out of their shell. Both young men want to do better in life and are currently working on staying out of trouble and earning their GED. Tommy is unique as he projects signs of a rough past and was the one that took the longest to open up and trust the team and I. To say the least, he refused to take a picture with me or the team, but at the end of the project he approached me asking if it was okay to take a picture with me.

This project was a challenge due to communication issues, not only with the students but also the client, as everyone only wanted to speak Spanish regardless of their ability to speak English. Despite this we completed the job ahead of schedule and made the staff and residents happy with our efficiency and positive attitude! I found the students exceptional despite several obstacles we all faced together. They made the experience incredibly worthwhile for everyone involved!”

The Students were placed with the help of the Youth-Build Workforce Solutions Coordinator Jessica Go. Jeremiah wanted to add that Ms. Go was professional and more than accommodating with the students, not to mention she handpicked the translators that have worked with the students before which made the transition smooth. The five students stayed together for the entire project, and hit a 100% entry rate on each property.

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