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News Release

$1.6M grant awarded to develop innovative job training strategies and work opportunities for at-risk youth and young adults in North Charleston

Grant is part of $22 million to seven urban areas nationwide with high youth unemployment

WASHINGTON — In many of our nation's cities, youth unemployment rates are twice, or even three times the national average. While others in our nation see a return to prosperity, a large number of young Americans risk falling behind. Without specific actions to combat the problem, critically high jobless rates can lead to hopelessness and despair.

To address these issues, the U.S. Department of Labor is making $1,615,102 available to the state of South Carolina to fund a demonstration project for youth in the city of North Charleston.

"A principle that has guided me throughout my life is that we all succeed when we all succeed. We cannot afford to ignore the challenges facing our young people today, and we must do all we can to ensure that opportunity is available to all," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "This grant will offer young people in North Charleston who are at-risk of falling off the economic ladder, a chance to chart a new course, gain job skills and find stable, meaningful careers."

Administered by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the grant will fund the development of two satellite American Job Centers in the community to improve access to high-quality job training and employment services. The centers will offer six-week, pre-employment programs that combine both classroom instruction and work-based training opportunities. The programs will ready participants for jobs with training and paid work experience in high-growth industries including manufacturing, information technology, transportation/logistics, health care, specialty trades and hospitality.

The North Charleston area has demonstrated an extraordinary and compelling need for targeted assistance — including high unemployment, high crime rates, and low graduation rates. The grant will serve youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 who have been disconnected from the labor force — meaning that they are both not enrolled in school and not currently working.

The demonstration project funded by this grant will test new strategies built on best practices for preparing youth to succeed at work. These include career education and preparation, summer programs, and comprehensive and integrated career pathway models — all of which align education and training programs to enable participants to earn industry-recognized credentials and find good jobs. In addition, participants will receive meaningful work experiences to ensure they are ready to work and have the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.

The award to North Charleston is one of seven similar grants, totaling $22 million, awarded to cities with high poverty and unemployment rates. The department's Dislocated Worker National Reserve Account will fund the grants. This account primarily funds National Emergency Grants to address significant worker dislocation events such as plant closings or natural disasters. However, up to 10 percent of the account is available for demonstration projects, such as the North Charleston project.

This grant aligns closely with several of the Obama Administration's key priorities, including the My Brother's Keeper initiative and builds on the principles outlined in the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by aligning with and leveraging existing employment and training resources available in their local areas through American Job Centers, community and faith-based organizations, federal partners, educational institutions and districts, employers, foundations, and other youth-serving organizations.

ETA News Release: [06/30/2015]
Contact Name: Jason Kuruvilla
Phone Number: (202) 693-6587
Release Number: 15-1306-ATL