WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday the award of more than $73,6 million in YouthBuild grants to support academic and occupational skills training for at-risk youth, including $1.1 million to the Bend-based Heart of Oregon Corps.
"YouthBuild offers thousands of young people the tools, resources and opportunities they need to punch their ticket to the middle class," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These federal grants are part of our broader effort to invest in the future of our nation's youth and help them climb the ladder of opportunity."
The Central Oregon program was the state's only recipient from Wednesday's grants.
The grants range from approximately $700,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 71 YouthBuild programs across 31 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
They will help about 4,800 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency, officials said.
Along with the programs receiving funding Wednesday, the Labor Department now actively funds 322 YouthBuild programs around the country.
The YouthBuild program aligns with President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative and job-driven training agenda by promoting a "stepping stone" approach that provides a seamless progression from education to work-based training and results in good paying jobs for young adults.
The community-based nature of these grants ensures that services are provided where they are needed most and are intended to reach the hardest to serve youth.
YouthBuild is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to youth ages 16 to 24 who 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 and career milestones.
The classroom training component leads to a high school diploma, general education development or other state-recognized equivalency diploma.
The occupational skills training component provides YouthBuild participants with industry-recognized certifications in construction or other in-demand occupations, such as health care and information technology.
Leadership development and community service are also key elements of the YouthBuild program, helping to ensure that participants maintain a connection to their communities through public service and volunteerism.
To learn more about the Heart of Oregon Corps, visit: http://www.heartoforegon.org/
For more information about the Department of Labor's YouthBuild program, visit http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/youthbuild.cfm.
A list of all grantees, their locations and award amounts is available online at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20141446.htm.