Articles

YouthBuild Grants Available

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Education on June 12, 2015 by Sufen Wang

Building a Future for Young Adults: $76 Million in YouthBuild Grants Available

Abraham-Lincoln-Quotes-3Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Unfortunately, many young adults never get even the chance to decide their own futures. Luckily, programs such as the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored YouthBuild exist specifically for this purpose: to give each of these kids the opportunity to invent their futures. Administered by the DOL since 2006, YouthBuild teaches at-risk American youth much-needed job skills in industries such as construction, health care, and information technology.

diplomaIt’s important to remember that not everyone has the luxury of finishing even their K-12 education, let alone going to college. YouthBuild gives such young adults ranging from ages 16-24 the chance to earn their high school diplomas or GEDs, and it also functions as an alternative education program. Participants split time between classroom instruction and learning high-demand occupational skills on-site in the construction field. These skills are honed by actually building housing for low-income and homeless people throughout their neighborhoods. In this way, the benefits of YouthBuild extend well beyond the young adults themselves.

CareerThe benefits are also intended to last beyond the immediate present. YouthBuild is built upon a significant support system for the young adults it helps, such as offering mentoring, follow-up education, employment, and personal counseling services, and participation in community service and civic engagement. Students learn to be community leaders, and prepare for college and other postsecondary training opportunities.

YouthBuild labelCurrently, there are more than 220 DOL-funded YouthBuild programs across 43 states, with more than 6000 youth helped each year. With the signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act last July, the program underwent some important enhancements. These include expanded eligibility for those who previously dropped out of a YouthBuild program and re-enrolled; addition of a fifth key purpose related to improving energy efficiency in buildings serving low-income and homeless individuals and families; increased percentage of grant funds that can be used to build or renovate public spaces; and more.

CareersClipArtAs a clearly great program, YouthBuild deserves to be made bigger and better. Recognizing this, the DOL announced on April 6 that $76 million in funding was available for continuing and expanding YouthBuild programs all across the country. Approximately 76 awards are available for organizations to use for providing employment and education services to disadvantaged youth in their communities. The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, explained that, “When it comes to creating these opportunities for young people at-risk, YouthBuild is one of our most successful programs. Today’s announcement strengthens our commitment to helping many young people see the possibilities ahead of them.”

YouthBuild is just one of many programs which deserve greater support. Take some time to reach out in your community and find opportunities to help others have a chance at their dreams!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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