Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $2 Million in Funding Coming to Brooklyn to Prepare Disadvantaged Youth for the Workforce

Jun 16, 2009

Today, United States Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that $1,909,190 in YouthBuild Grant funding has been allocated to two Brooklyn organizations under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and FY 2009 funding. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation will receive $809,190 and the Settlement Housing Fund, Inc will receive $1,100,000 to provide education and training to disadvantaged young people. This training will include the education and employment skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency in occupations in high demand and postsecondary education and training opportunities, opportunities for meaningful work and service to their communities; and opportunities to develop employment and leadership skills and a commitment to community development among youth in low-income communities.

“In this economic crisis, funding for education and job creation is a top priority,” said Schumer.  “There are few things more valuable than educational funding that directly prepares young people to be active, accomplished and successful members of the work force.  Training and service opportunities like the ones that will be provided by these YouthBuild Grants are of the utmost importance in building strong communities, a strong economy and a strong workforce.”

“As a mother and a lawmaker, I strongly believe that a good education is the foundation for ensuring that every child can achieve his or her God-given potential,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The funding provided by these YouthBuild grants will help strengthen our neighborhoods and give at-risk youth the training and education they need to prepare for the life in the real world. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to ensure that New York City receives its fair share of federal dollars, and to increase educational opportunities for all New York families.”

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation will receive $809,190. A unique feature of the program is that participants will work with Solar Energy Systems (SES), a renewable energy company specializing in the design and installation of solar electric or photovoltaic systems. In addition, the Council of Carpenters will use Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation as one of tow organizations to be its principal referral source for a new Construction Trades certificate program at City Tech, which will lead to union apprenticeships and jobs. Those in charge of the program are hoping that sixty youth will be enrolled, 51 will complete, 30 will receive a GED or high school diploma, 40 will demonstrate literacy/numeracy gains, and 35 will enter employment and/or post-secondary education.

Settlement Housing Fund, Inc. will receive $1,100,000. Participants will travel to the Eastern Correctional Facility and visit with inmates serving a minimum of 25 years, bringing home the importance of what they will be accomplishing for their lives through YouthBuild. In addition, every other week, participants will have one day of hands-on instruction in the construction laboratory and four days of guided repairs on vacant apartments and building facilities.  Those in charge of the program are hoping that seventy youth will be enrolled, 50 will graduate from the program and enter a trade school or obtain a job, 90% will demonstrate literacy/numeracy gains, and 75% will attain a GED.

YouthBuild provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24 while tapping into their energies and talents to construct or rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods. These youths 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, personal counseling services and participation in community service and civic engagement-all provided with the end goal of nurturing the high-demand occupational skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy.