Washington, DC – US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Omnibus spending bill – a must-pass bill that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year – includes $79.689 million in funding for the YouthBuild program, which is an increase of more than $2 million from last year’s funding level.
Senator Gillibrand had already successfully fought for reauthorization of the program, which was included in the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was passed by Congress and signed into law in July of this year by President Obama.
“I saw the incredible transformation that the YouthBuild students brought to a Poughkeepsie neighborhood, and how the program helped the students achieve their full potential,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Through the YouthBuild program, young people around the state can work to improve their communities, and learn valuable skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. I am pleased that funding for this successful program has been increased so more young people can benefit from this important program.”
Senator Gillibrand has been an active leader in advocating for youth educational and job training programs. She worked to secure the YouthBuild authorization in WIOA, which was bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize federal job training programs that was enacted earlier this year.
In April, Senator Gillibrand led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee along with 31of her colleagues requesting an increase in funding for YouthBuild for Fiscal Year 2015. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million youth in the United States who are disconnected, low-income, and without a high school diploma. Increased funding for DOL’s YouthBuild Program would help more disconnected youth benefit from these critical job training and educational services.
In New York State, YouthBuild has 17 chapters, and YouthBuild’s DOL-funded centers have served 2,259 students since 2007. At the Poughkeepsie center, 67 students have been served by federally-supported YouthBuild programming since 2011, with 80 percent of students receiving their high school diploma or equivalent, and 70 percent of students gaining employment or enrolling in college.
YouthBuild has been in existence since 1994 and is operated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). They provide job training and educational programs to low-income youth between the ages of 16 to 24 who have not graduated from high school or received an equivalent degree. Program participants are engaged in year-long education and job training courses with a focus on training in the construction and carpentry fields. Counseling, mentoring, and leadership development programs are also offered to participants. Nationwide, the program serves more than 130,000 students in 46 states, and has built more than 28,000 affordable housing units for homeless and low-income individuals.