|October 5, 2008|
ETA News Release: [06/28/2007]
U.S. Department of Labor youth-related grants advance education and employment connections for troubled youth
More than $41 million awarded for collaborations with state, local and other programs
WASHINGTON Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today announced the award of six sets of youth-related grants to invest in the education and career skills of troubled youth nationwide.
"These $41 million in grants will help at-risk youth access valuable education and skills training which will put them on a path to job success," said Secretary Chao. "Investing in a brighter future for these young people and enabling them to access opportunities can make a world of difference for them, their families and their communities."
The Labor Department's overall youth vision addresses the nation's most persistent workforce crises through the implementation of collaborative approaches to youth development modeled on the department's Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative. The grants respond to the 30 percent dropout rate among high school students and are aimed at providing them alternative educational opportunities and improved employment pathways.
"In regions throughout the country, high tech, high growth industries are demanding skilled workers who have the education and know-how to succeed in today's competitive marketplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. "Seed money provided today will help young people reconnect with educational opportunities and prepare themselves for rewarding careers."
These grants are part of the department's ongoing response to the 2003 White House Task Force Report on Disadvantaged Youth. They focus on preparing America's neediest young people, especially dropouts or those at risk of dropping out, to succeed in the 21st century economy. By engaging state, local and federal partners, the department will not only help educate young people but also help build pipelines of skilled workers that meet the demands of the country's growing industries.
For more information on Department of Labor youth programs, please visit www.doleta.gov/youth_services.
Note: Program descriptions and lists of awardees follow.
Shared Youth Vision Pilot Projects: Working with federal agency partners, the department is assisting regions in 16 states with integrating strategies for connecting at-risk youth with other educational, health and social services that support employment outcomes. States participating in the $1.6 million pilot project are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah.
Multiple Education Pathway Blueprints: The department is providing $2.95 million in funding to six cities to " blueprint" and implement systems that can connect young people who have dropped out of high school to alternative learning opportunities. Each city will receive $491,666. Efforts will be focused on engaging youth in career preparation and encouraging them to pursue postsecondary education. This funding is intended to serve as a catalyst and will bring together community partners in Gary, Ind.; Des Moines, Iowa; Metairie, La.; Brockton, Mass.; Fall River, Mass.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.
Beneficiary-Choice Contracting Program: The department is awarding $5 million to five grantees who will assist ex-offenders ages 18 to 29 with transitioning from prison to the workplace. Participants will be able to choose service providers from pools of faith-based and community groups, thereby encouraging them to take personal ownership in choosing the services they believe best fit their needs. The grantees receiving $1 million each are: Arizona Women's Education and Employment Inc. of Phoenix; Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment; the City of Chicago; the Indianapolis Private Industry Council Inc.; and the Director's Council of Des Moines, Iowa.
High Growth Youth Offender Initiative (HGYOI): Slightly more than $6 million is being awarded to 13 prior recipients of HGYOI grants. This initiative began in July 2005 and is designed to prepare young people who have been involved in the juvenile justice system for careers in high-growth industries. Organizations receiving awards will each use their $464,380 in funding to strengthen existing educational programs by expanding applied academic models that will enhance basic reading and math outcomes, and ultimately lead to higher levels of academic achievement. Today's grantees are: Colors of Success, Cochise, Ariz.; Goodwill Industries, Phoenix, Ariz.; The Bridge, Imperial, Calif.; Aspen Diversified, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Goodwill Suncoast, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Suncoast Workforce Board, Sarasota, Fla.; Quad Area Community Action, Hammond, La.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Improved Solutions for Urban Communities, Dayton, Ohio; the state of Oklahoma; Oregon Consortium, Albany, Ore.; Work Systems, Portland, Ore.; and Community Learning Center, Dallas, Texas.
Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS): More than $1.9 million in funding is being awarded to this organization and will be used to assist 488 offenders ages 18 to 35 who have been, or will be, released soon from prisons near St. Louis. Funds will be used to support the St. Louis ARCHS Community Action Re-entry Employment System (CARES) collaborative project, which focuses on job skill development and placement, job retention, increased earnings and reduced recidivism among ex-offenders.
Public School District Strategies for Reducing Youth Involvement in Gangs: The school districts of Baltimore; Chicago; Milwaukee; Orange County, Fla.; and Philadelphia each will receive $4.8 million to combat gang involvement. The $24 million in overall funding will be used for a variety of educational and employment programs all designed to reduce the dropout rate and the number of youth in grades eight through 12 involved in gangs. Programs must include at least one component aimed at increasing the educational achievement and decreasing the dropout rate among juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. They also must have at least one component aimed at providing paid work experience and internships for out-of-school juvenile offenders, and at least one aimed at reducing youth gangs and youth violent crime.