$1 million grant to fund workforce development opportunities for at-risk youth


St. Charles Youth & Family Services plans to launch a workforce development initiative tailored to youth through a $1 million Project JUMP START grant it has received from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Southwest Key Programs’ national headquarters.


The “Milwaukee’s Youth Making a Difference Initiative” will support the grant’s mission to expand workplace training opportunities for at-risk kids and young adults throughout greater Milwaukee.

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This first program funded by the grant will provide nearly $80,000 of in-kind labor to area nonprofit organizations. Selected youth will have an opportunity to complete designated projects at participating nonprofits in order to learn crucial job skills.

St. Joan Antida High School, Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ, and Unity Lutheran Church are the first three nonprofits to participate. Crews of nine students and two youth supervisors will work at each nonprofit over the course of six weeks.

Other area nonprofits will be assigned crews in the coming weeks.

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“I want to thank the U.S. Department of Labor and Southwest Key Programs for the funding that is helping to make this initiative a reality,” said Cathy Connolly, president of St. Charles Youth & Family Services. “This is a great opportunity for our community, and it would not happen without the commitment being exhibited by the federal government, Milwaukee County, the partner organization and all the participants.”

Additional partners include the Milwaukee County Delinquency & Court Services Division and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.

The “Milwaukee’s Youth Making a Difference Initiative” will also feature weekly workshops for youth to learn more about financial literacy and expand on their personal skill development.

St. Charles Youth & Family Services, based in Milwaukee, aims to equip at-risk youth and their families with the tools and skills necessary to achieve an independent, sustainable lifestyle.

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