US Department of Labor Awards 80.3M in YouthBuild Grants
The U.S. Department of Labor announced today the award of $80.3 million in YouthBuild grants to non-profit organizations in 35 states to help young people struggling to reach key educational and career milestones, equip them to become successful in the workforce and be engaged in their communities.
YouthBuild is a community-based, alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth, ages 16-24. The grants announced today range from approximately $700,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 77 YouthBuild programs.
“All young people are gifted and talented, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help draw out those gifts and talents,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said. “YouthBuild provides young people with an important opportunity to gain the education and skills they need for good-paying jobs, while also helping them become more engaged members of their communities. That can mean everything to a young person who didn’t get the easiest start in life.”
The grants announced today will help approximately 5,000 at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs; earn industry-recognized certifications within in-demand occupations; and gain construction skills training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.
To ensure that the nation’s most disadvantaged communities have access to funding – for the first time in the program’s history – priority consideration was given to organizations serving localities designated as Promise Zones. The department is awarding grants today to eight organizations specifically targeting seven Promise Zones: Camden, New Jersey; El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; two communities within Los Angeles; San Diego; and St. Paul, Minnesota.
YouthBuild’s mission aligns closely with the goals of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color, and ensure that all young people can realize their full potential.