$30M in grants available for organizations to help young adults with juvenile or adult records gain job skills, start new careers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $30 million grant competition to help expand employment opportunities for young people involved in the criminal justice system. The department will award approximately seven grants of up to $4.5 million. Grant recipients may be either rural or urban organizations.

The “Reentry Demonstration Projects for Young Adults” grants allow organizations the flexibility to design programs for adults ages 18 to 24 that apply evidence-based interventions, such as mentoring, Career Pathways, Registered Apprenticeship, family reunification and other promising practices with a focus on providing occupational training and credentials.

“The guiding principle behind all of our work is that zip code should never determine destiny and no matter where you start out in life if you’re willing to work hard you should be able to reach your highest and best dreams,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These grants will help bring crucial training and job opportunities closer within reach of young people who – while they made mistakes in the past – deserve a second chance at a brighter and more stable economic future.”

The grants announced today build on the department’s “Face Forward” initiative to help justice-involved youth overcome early barriers to employment through occupational training and credentials that will help them open the door to career success. The goal of this grant also aligns closely with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative which seeks to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people and often by boys and young men of color.

With access to skills training and stable employment, young adults involved in the criminal justice system are less likely to become repeat offenders, which strengthens local economies and boosts public safety. In addition, promising practices outlined in the 2014 “What Works in Job Training: A Synthesis of the Evidence” report show that work and industry-based education and training are effective in assisting individuals in entering the workforce.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement, which includes information about how to apply, is available here.

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