Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced more than $75 million in YouthBuild grants to help out-of-school youth earn a high school or General Educational Development diploma while learning critical occupational skills in construction, health care, information technology and other fields.
"YouthBuild offers young people the opportunity to earn academic and industry-recognized credentials, practice the skills they'll need to succeed at work, and experience what it means to contribute to their own success and that of their communities," said Secretary Solis.
The grants range from $700,000 to $1.1 million each and together will fund 74 YouthBuild programs in 28 states and the District of Columbia. They will help nearly 5,000 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Including today's grantees, the Labor Department now actively funds 127 YouthBuild programs around the country.
The YouthBuild grants announced today are the first awarded under new program regulations published in February 2012, which expand occupational skills training beyond construction to include fast-growing industries such as health care and information technology. The construction skills training programs funded teach valuable skills to participants who build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities. The non-construction skills training programs funded include leadership development and community service elements to ensure that youth maintain a connection to their communities through service and volunteerism.
YouthBuild is a nonresidential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to at-risk individuals ages 16-24. Many participants have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational milestones and opportunities that lead to career fulfillment.