WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of approximately $44 million in grants through the Face Forward program to provide work-based learning opportunities and support services for youth ages 14 to 24 who have been through the juvenile justice system.
"Individuals should not have to face a lifetime of obstacles because of poor decisions made at a young age," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "It's not good for our communities and it's not good for our country. So today we're making an investment in our youth so they can turn their lives around by gaining the skills necessary to find a good job and thrive in the workplace."
The Face Forward grant program is designed to help participants move forward into the future by combining the most promising workforce and juvenile justice strategies available. These grants will offer organizations the opportunity to develop programs that address this issue by helping youth obtain education and industry-recognized credentials in high-demand occupations and industries. The grants will also specifically help youth evade the stigma of having a juvenile record through the use of diversion or record expungement strategies.
These grants build on existing promising practices including on-the-job training and work-based learning opportunities and strengthen industry and employer connections to ensure that participants are being trained in occupations employers are looking to fill. Grant applications under this solicitation must include, at a minimum, each of the following project components:
- case management;
- educational interventions;
- service learning;
- occupational training in-demand industries, which lead to industry-recognized credentials;
- workforce activities that lead to employment;
- follow-up service; and
- diversion or expungement services.
Four grants of $5 million each will be awarded to intermediary organizations, which are parent organizations that will work with their affiliates to implement this program. Approximately 16 grants of up to $1.5 million each will be awarded to community-based organizations or faith-based organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Eligible participants must be between ages 14 and 24, who are either currently involved or have been involved in the juvenile justice system, or are candidates for diversion under state guidelines for juvenile diversion programs. Involvement with the adult criminal justice system will disqualify someone from participating.