Employ Milwaukee Inc., formerly the Milwaukee Workforce Investment Board, has been awarded a $1.1 million YouthBuild grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The grant is one of 77 awarded by the department on Thursday. The YouthBuild program is a community-based, alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth, ages 16-24. The department awarded $80.3 million in grants in 35 states.
The department estimated the grants would combine to help 5,000 at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, earn industry certifications and gain construction skills.
Western Technical College in La Crosse and Community Action Inc. of Rock and Walworth Counties also received funding.
“All young people are gifted and talented, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help draw out those gifts and talents,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “YouthBuild provides young people with an important opportunity to gain the education and skills they need for good-paying jobs, while also helping them become more engaged members of their communities. That can mean everything to a young person who didn’t get the easiest start in life.”
Rob Cherry, Employ Milwaukee director of youth services, said the program will help about 100 individuals over a 3 year period. He said the program will focus on helping young people who have not graduated from high school and face other barriers to entering the workforce. The goal is to connect participants to the construction industry, help them get industry certifications and provide hands-on experience building homes.