U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D- MD) today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will award $1.5 million to the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata for their Juvenile Offenders Building Skills (JOBS) project. This comprehensive jobs program is geared towards providing education and hands-on jobs training for at-risk youth to prepare them for jobs today and jobs tomorrow.
"The Juvenile Offenders Building Skills (JOBS) program will enable juveniles who have been through the juvenile justice system to receive job training that will enhance their skills and help them to re-connect with the community through service-based projects," said Senator Cardin. "This grant will provide these individuals with the skills they need to make a smooth transition into the workforce."
"Education and professional job training are important rungs on the American opportunity ladder," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Service Subcommittee, which puts funds in the federal checkbook for the U.S. Department of Labor. "These funds in the federal checkbook will help prepare at-risk youth with the tools they need to succeed in the workforce, keeping them off the streets and on the job. This is smart funding that will help make our communities safer and our economy stronger."
The JOBS project, which is a collaboration between the College of Southern Maryland and more than 30 strategic partners from all three Southern Maryland counties, will provide 96 young adults who have been involved in the juvenile justice system with a variety of community service projects and skills training. Students have access to full-time program activities including employability training and developing job search skills. In addition, GED classes will also be provided for students who lack a high school diploma. Upon completion, participants will be placed in HVAC or plumbing occupations, and receive three months of follow-up services. JOBS will benefit the community and provide opportunities for participants to practice their skills.
The $1.5 million awarded to Maryland is part of $50 million in federal grants that will serve formerly incarcerated youth nationwide, ages 14 and above, in high-poverty, high-crime communities. Participating young adults will have been involved with the juvenile justice system within the past 12 months, while having never been involved in the adult criminal system. Grantees will provide education and training leading to high school diplomas and/or industry-recognized credentials for the individuals served with an emphasis on in-demand industries and occupations available within their local communities. All grants provide for up to four months of planning and a minimum of 26 months of operation.