WASHINGTON — Getting an education and finding career success are plateaus out of reach for too many of our nation's youth. To help at-risk youth reach these goals, the U.S. Department of Labor sponsors the YouthBuild program. The program helps young people who left school early to complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, and learn critical job skills in demand in the construction, health care, information technology and other industries.
To further its aims, the department today announces the availability of $76 million in funding to continue or expand YouthBuild programs nationwide. Grants awarded in this funding opportunity range from $700,000 to $1.1 million each to approximately 76 organizations to provide education and employment services to disadvantaged youth in their communities.
"Our economy will only soar when everyone shares its benefits. Everyone, especially our young people, must have the opportunity to get an education and find a good job," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "When it comes to creating these opportunities for young people at-risk, Youthbuild is one of our most successful programs. Today's announcement strengthens our commitment to helping many young people see the possibilities ahead of them."
YouthBuild's mission aligns closely with President Obama's goals in the My Brother's Keeper initiative. This effort seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can realize their full potential.
This year's funding availability is the first since the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, signed last July. Important changes to the program under WIOA include:
- Expanding eligibility for those who previously dropped out of a YouthBuild program and re-enrolled;
- Removing the sequential service strategy provision;
- Adding a fifth key purpose related to improving energy efficiency in buildings serving low-income and homeless individuals and families;
- Increasing the percentage of grant funds that can be used to build or renovate public spaces; and
- Reducing the allowable administrative costs rate.
YouthBuild is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instructionand occupational skills training in construction and other in-demand occupations to at-risk youth and young adults ages 16-24. Participants learn valuable skills as they build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities. Under the YouthBuild Construction Plus model, select programs may offer expanded occupational skills training in additional in-demand occupations.
For additional information on grant eligibility and how to apply for funds, visit http://www.grants.gov.