The US Labor Department's program YouthBuild is designed to provide assistance to at risk youth who are behind in skill level with alternatives to education in efforts to ensure they finish high school.
"The primary target populations for YouthBuild are adjudicated youth, youth aging out of foster care, out-of-school youth, and other at-risk populations. "
According to a release from the Labor Department 183 groups dedicated to YouthBuild services throughout the country received $114 million.
"This amount is an initial increment for two years of grant operations. A remaining increment may be awarded pending the availability of additional funding. Among today's awardees, 62 are current Department of Labor YouthBuild grantees, and 121 are new to the department."
One such program in Columbia, Missouri schools students for half of the day, and the rest of the day shows them how to build homes that then help disadvantaged families. A new program in Phoenix will fund the first ever green building project done by youth. The Phoenix students will build two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified houses in older neighborhoods.
Right here at home, the Kansas City program received nearly $700,000.
The KC program typically has a many as 65 students involved and Maddox said that more than half get their high school degree or GED and at least 45 will enter into job opportunities or internships that help them progress forward.
Wendell Maddox, CEO of United Way of Wyandotte County, said the YouthBuild program usually receives $1.1 million for the 30-month grant. However, he said the program typically receives 50 percent of the funds for the first 15 months, rather than 63 percent. Maddox said the stimulus money also requires the program to start spending the funds by July 1.
“That group of kids, they really need the support of this program,” Maddox said.
"President Obama and I are delighted to be able to increase funding for this promising program, which does so much for youth and their communities," said Secretary Solis. "The YouthBuild program not only assists young people in obtaining education and skills, but also gives them a sense of accomplishment and empowers them as they give back to their communities."
The release also says that $47 million of the total program budget came from the stimulus package passed by Congress earlier this year. With all the no votes for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 one would think it was filled with useless and meaningless projects - clearly this is yet another real world example of the lives impacted by this year's Congress.