WASHINGTON — Youth who have been in the juvenile justice system often face numerous challenges as they attempt to enter the workforce and become productive citizens. The stigma that a juvenile record carries can close doors before they ever open. All too often, these hurdles continue into adulthood and become overwhelming barriers that sustain a cycle of crime and incarceration.
To stop the cycle before it starts, the department launched the "Face Forward" initiative — a program designed to help court-involved youth overcome barriers early on and provide occupational training and credentials that will help them open the door to career success.
The goal of the Face Forward program aligns closely with President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative which seeks to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people and often by boys and young men of color.
"We all succeed when we all succeed — and that's what the Face Forward program is all about," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "With these grants, we can create a brighter future for these youth, build safer communities and strengthen our economy as a whole."
This will be the third round of the Face Forward grant initiative which uses the most promising workforce and juvenile justice strategies available. The grants also build on the department's commitment to fund sustainable programs through the career pathways initiative, which better coordinates education and training services to enable workers to attain industry-recognized credentials and find jobs.
Grantees are expected to provide a range of services that include case management, mentoring, education and training services. Funded programs will also help to eliminate the stigma of a juvenile record by offering services to seal juvenile records and providing opportunities to handle delinquency complaints outside of the juvenile justice system.
The department plans to award four grants of $5 million each to intermediary organizations who will then work with local service providers in no less than three communities across no less than two states. The remaining funds will be awarded to approximately 10 community organization for up to $1.05 million each. Preference will be given to grantees that target communities with high-poverty and high-crime rates.
Grantees will provide services to youth between the ages of 14 to 24 that have been involved in the juvenile justice system, but never convicted in the adult criminal system.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov.