For youth who left high school early and lack a state equivalency diploma, a continuing education and career success can be a goal beyond reach. Throughout the nation, YouthBuild programs seek to help these young people in learning critical job skills in construction as a path to economic independence.
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of $80 million in grant funding to support and expand YouthBuild programs nationwide. For those programs that offer the “YouthBuild Construction Plus” model, participating youth can take advantage of expanded occupational skills training in additional in-demand occupations, such as health care, information technology or logistics.
“In America, your zip code should never determine your destiny,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “YouthBuild offers valuable opportunities for young people to get the education and skills training they need to succeed on the job and in life.”
Grants awarded through this funding opportunity will range from $700,000 to $1.1 million each to about 80 organizations to provide education and employment services to disadvantaged youth in their communities.
This year’s funding availability completes implementation of the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by incorporating the requirements of WIOA performance measures. Additional important changes to the program this year include:
– The inclusion of priority consideration points for applicants in a federally-designated Promise Zone
– A clarification to the classification of “Category A” and “Category B” applicants to allow applicants that have previously received DOL YouthBuild funds, but not since 2009 or earlier, to be considered as new applicants
– The use of zip codes to identify target community service areas
– The requirement of key personnel, including a job developer
YouthBuild is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training in construction and other in-demand occupations to at-risk youth and young adults from ages 16 to 24. Participants learn valuable skills as they build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.
The goal of this grant also 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.
For additional information on grant eligibility and how to apply for funds, visit http://www.grants.gov.