WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) introduced the YouthBuild for the Future Act to authorize $1 billion over six years for YouthBuild and improve program supports for vulnerable young people who are not in school or employed. Additionally, this legislation enables grants to be targeted for use in rural communities, extends follow-up and wrap around services for participants, and allows funding for meals for the participants.
The YouthBuild program equips young people with education, employment, and leadership skills. Students split their time between the classroom and the job site, where they often build housing for homeless and low-income people in their own communities. YouthBuild helps participants earn their high school diploma while learning skills in high need trades like construction, healthcare, information technology and logistics. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), approximately 220 DOL-funded YouthBuild programs are active in 42 states, including Connecticut and nationwide the program serves about 6,000 youth each year. The need to help vulnerable students and dislocated workers train for high-wage, stable careers is more important than ever, as workers struggle to reenter the workforce after the pandemic.
“YouthBuild transforms the lives of young people by instilling in them the confidence and job skills to become conscientious, productive members of society. The YouthBuild for the Future Act makes several key improvements to the job training program to strengthen our economy into the next generation,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
Specifically, the YouthBuild for the Future Act will:
- Reserve grants for programs serving rural communities;
- Extend the allowed period of follow-up services to 24 months;
- Allow funding for participant meals;
- Allow grantees to count YouthBuild funds towards the matching requirement under
- the National Community Service Act; and
- Require States to share Unemployment Insurance wage data with YouthBuild programs.
The YouthBuild for the Future Act is endorsed by United Way Connecticut and along with the Northwest Workforce Innovation Board.
“Having recently completed the program portion of our YouthBuild Waterbury program, we fully support the changes offered in this legislation. Additional funding for rural YouthBuild programs that include transportation services is vital to the success of YouthBuild programs. Many of our students suffer from food insecurity. Addressing this through supportive services, funded within the YouthBuild program allocation is primary to the success of each and every student,” said Catherine N. Awwad, President & CEO of Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board.