Handyman training for Urban Youth

Oct 10, 2022

Back in 2014, I offered this program to a non-profit organization here in St Louis, Missouri and we were able to procure a grant from the United Way. The program was successful, but I was only able to teach the one program and we didn’t request additional funding. However, I believe the idea of teaching handyman skills has great merit and am sharing this information for anyone interested. Please contact me anytime with any questions or ideas!

Training Handyman skills to Urban Youth

Proposal by;

Norm Bennett




Anyone that has an aptitude towards working with their hands can be trained to provide handyman-type services. Allowing someone to recognize they have the ability to provide a helpful service to their neighborhood can have an immediate positive impact on a young person’s life.

There are almost one million homes in the greater St Louis area. Most homes need the most fundamental repairs – clean up, painting, roof repair, drywall repair, window caulking, insulation, safety issues, etc. Offering a handyman training program to urban youth, (or any individuals who would benefit), is a worthwhile and necessary program that could be of great benefit.

The costs outlined below are simply of rough outline of direct cost associated with the training and don’t address the cost of a facility, the cost of liability, etc. This is just a starting point.

Mission statement

It is the objective of this program to offer a positive alternative to urban youth that will allow them to improve their community and create an income.

  • To create a sense of worth and accomplishment through seeing the immediate results of improving/repairing a home.
  • To create a sense of pride in the community.
  • To build a network of comradeship and mentoring as youth are trained and become professionals within their own neighborhoods.
  • To offer an alternative – in real time – to other negative avenues of creating an income.
  • To create a stepping-stone towards specialized skilled trades that require additional schooling.
  • To aid in the process of becoming a skilled Handyman through classroom training, on-site training and assistance in providing the necessary tools.

Required Handyman Tools – per person

Hand tools;

$35 – Tool belt

10 – Screwdriver – multi-head

25 – Hammer – curved claw

5 – Pencils

10 – Speed square

10 – Utility knife

20 – Tape measure

7 – Plyers

7 – Putty knife multi-tool


$124 – Total hand tools

Handyman Classroom Needs

Classroom equipment;

$100 – Dry erase board

10 – Markers

100 – Work bench material

70 – Saw horses

50 – Lumber

50 – Screws

00 – Table and chairs (Probably have on site)

437 – Complete set of Handyman tools

165 – Big ladder

35 – Small ladder

200 – Books and manuals to be purchased on-line

50 – Proposal/contract pad


$1267 – Total class room equipment

Tools Needed for training process

In-house/job-site tools;

$279 – Ryobi combo tool set – Saw/drill/sawsall

20 – Saw blades/drill bits/sawsall blades

5 – Buckets

35 – Saw horses

165 – Big ladder

100 – Angle grinder

250 – Compressor and nail guns

25 – Step stool

20 – Drop cloths

20 – Paint tools – pans/rollers/brushes

15 – Extension cord

15 – Work light

10 – Flat bar

15 – Tool box

5 – Caulk gun

35 – Drywall hand tools


$1014 – Total in-house/job-site tools

These tools are to be kept at training facility and signed out as needed. This is to lessen the financial burden for new Handymen/Handywomen and allow them time to purchase their own tools.

Class curriculum


The following outlines the classroom curriculum for Handyman Training;

1. Finding work. How to get leads in order to obtain jobs. Developing a process of generating a steady, consistent flow of calls that will allow you to have all the work you can handle.

2. Phone etiquette. How to talk to prospective customers.

3. Setting appointments.

4. Quoting process. How to bid a job.

5. Writing proposals.

6. Selling and scheduling a job.

7. Performing the work. Ordering material, picking up material, doing the job, etc.

8. Job-site etiquette. When to show up, how long to work, how to work, customer communication, cleaning up the job-site, etc.

9. Safety.

10.Getting paid.

11.Keeping records. (Yes… doing your taxes!)

Class curriculum

(Skills training)

The following outlines the classroom curriculum for Skills Training;

1. Plumbing. Includes leaky faucets, installing shut-off valves, replacing toilets, sweating fittings, compression fittings, copper, pvc, etc.

2. Electrical. Fundamentals of electricity. Switches, ceiling fans, outlets, etc.

3. Flooring. Ceramic and porcelain tile, laminate, wood, etc.

4. Drywall. Fixing holes, taping and putty.

5. Painting/caulking.

6. Roofing/tuck pointing.

7. Exterior of house. Weather-proofing, insulation, safety, landscaping, yard work.

Program perimeters

Progression of events towards becoming “Handyman”;

1. The basic Handyman course will total sixteen classroom hours. One four-hour class per week for four weeks.

2. Once the classroom portion is complete, the student will log in another sixteen hours with a Mentor or Instructor on the job-site.

3. The tool check-out procedure will be on a job-by-job basis.

4. Upon completion of sixteen hours of class, the graduate will receive the hand tools originally which were originally assigned to them at the beginning of the program.

5. Once a graduate completes sixteen hours of classroom work and sixteen hours of working in the field with a Mentor/Instructor, he/she is required to mentor a classroom graduate.

6. Once a graduate becomes a working Handyman and mentors several new students, he/she can have the opportunity to teach Handyman classes.

Youth effected by program

Most churches, schools and non-profit organizations within urban areas have individuals that would benefit from training to be a Handyman. Through communicating with these existing organizations and outlining our program, we would immediately have a base of individuals who are excellent candidates.

If we could get three or four to begin with a class, I think we would be off to a good start. After a couple graduates go out and start making money, I think the program would grow substantially.

The maximum students in a classroom setting would be eight. This is due to safety and due to the hands-on necessity of teaching students in an area with power tools and very specific guidelines that must be followed.

I would like to start with one class per week and would like to plan on – eventually – one Handyman graduate per week. The course will be a four-week program inside the classroom. Then the student will go out into the neighborhood to actually complete jobs, with the help and/or direct supervision of a graduate Handyman or Instructor.

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