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Youth Services Competitive Grants

Competitive grants are aimed at specific populations of at-risk youth, such as young offenders, youth living in high-poverty areas, and foster youth. 

The Department of Labor has administered the YouthBuild program since September 2006. The YouthBuild program is administered by the Employment and Training Administrations Office of Workforce Investment, Division of Youth Services.

YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24. Youth learn construction skills while constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods. Youth split their time between the construction site and the classroom, where they earn their GED or high school diploma, learn to be community leaders, and prepare for college and other postsecondary training opportunities. YouthBuild includes significant support systems, such as a mentoring, follow-up education, employment, and personal counseling services; and participation in community service and civic engagement. There are over 220 DOL funded YouthBuild programs in 43 states serving over 6000 youth per year.

The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders program provides funding, authorized as Pilot and Demonstration Projects under Section 171, of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 for youth, young adult and adult ex-offenders. Our mission is to develop guidance to the public workforce system on how best to serve this population within the guidelines of our regulatory authority. These pilots and demonstration projects are designed to test the effectiveness of successful models and practices found in community and faith-based environments and other government systems, but have not been tested for its adaptability in the public workforce system. It is our goal to develop strategies and partnerships that will facilitate the implementation of successful programs at the state and local levels that will improve the workforce outcomes for ex-offenders.
Click here to view current RExO grant recipients

School District Youth Offender Initiative
Building School District-Based Strategies For Reducing Youth Involvement In Gangs And Violent Crime Through A Workforce Development Approach: In 2007, The U.S. Department of Labor awarded five School Districts $4.8 million to develop strategies for reducing youth involvement in gangs using a workforce development approach. The school districts Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Orange County, Florida were the five district recipients of this grant.

This initiative is aimed at assisting public school districts reduce the involvement of youth in gangs and violent crime. Grant funds can be used for a variety of educational and employment interventions for youth who are involved, have been involved, or are at high risk of involvement in gangs or the juvenile justice system. Both in-school youth in grades eight through twelve and school dropouts up to the age of 21 can be served under these grants. Programs funded under this grant are meant to supplement overall dropout prevention efforts by the school district and gang reduction efforts in the city. Required partners include the local juvenile justice system, the mayor’s office, the local workforce investment board, the police department, and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In September 2008, The Department of Labor awarded $2 million to Newark, N.J., to expand the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders - Adult Program (RExO), formerly known as the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI), across the city.

More than 1,200 individuals will be served. The expertise and resources of the state, the Nicholson Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, and local faith-based and community organizations will play major roles. The project will complement existing services, such as the city's Opportunity Reconnect and the state's Another Chance re-entry programs. Specifically, this grant will create five access points housed in local faith-based and community groups that will serve as the "front door" for re-entry and be networked with a host of public and private services already available to ex-offenders.

Public School District Strategies for Reducing Youth Involvement in Gangs
In 2007, the school districts of Baltimore; Chicago; Milwaukee; Orange County, Fla.; and Philadelphia each received $4.8 million aimed at assisting public school districts to reduce the involvement of youth in gangs and violent crime. Funding is supporting a variety of educational and employment programs - all designed to reduce the dropout rate and the number of youth in grades eight through 12 involved in gangs. Programs must include at least one component aimed at increasing the educational achievement and decreasing the dropout rate among juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. Programs also target at least one component aimed at providing paid work experience and internships for out-of-school juvenile offenders, and at least one aimed at reducing youth gangs and youth violent crime.

Persistently Dangerous Schools
Over the past four year, The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has awarded over $80 million to school district identified as "persistently dangerous" by the U.S. Department of Education due to high levels of persistently high levels of violence.

June 2008 three school districts were awarded in grant funds totaling $49.5 million during the first round; Generation I school districts are Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York State's Berkshire Union Free State District.

June 2010 three school districts were awarded in grant funds totaling $34 million during the second round; Generation II school districts are Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York State's Schenectady City School District.

By design grants of $6.8 million would be awarded to serve high schools with enrollments of 1,000 students or more. Grants to serve high schools with enrollments of less than 1,000 students would be for $3.4 million.

The goal of these grants is to reduce violence within these schools through a combination of mentoring, educational, employment, case management, and violence prevention strategies. Each grant-funded program must include an adult volunteer mentoring component that integrates the violence prevention, education, employment, and case management services provided through the grant. Anti-bullying efforts, student courts, peer mediation, anger management classes, crisis intervention strategies, increased involvement of parents, and teacher training will also play important roles in reducing violence.

ETA Funding Opportunities
For additional information on ETA funding opportunities, visit Grants & Contracts.