Funding supports vocational training & education for young adults while helping to rebuild Buffalo
Congressman Brian Higgins announced a federal grant totaling $1,500,000 awarded to The Service Collaborative of Western New York. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered through the Office of Workforce Investment’s Division of Youth Services YouthBuild Program, the grant supports the development of career pathways for low-income or at-risk young adults in Western New York.
“The Service Collaborative of Western New York’s YouthBuild Buffalo program is a national model for achievement in guiding young adults toward a path to success in the workforce,” Higgins said. “This federal grant will ensure that young people in Western New York can receive the training and guidance necessary to reach their educational goals and continue on to have successful careers within in-demand industries. And while YouthBuild Buffalo participants build opportunities for a better future, they are helping to build a stronger community.”
The Service Collaborative Executive Director Kate Sarata said, “Receiving this funding offers more transformational change to young people in Western New York. We are ready to engage participants in lifechanging programming; supporting each one of them as they discover opportunity.”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program is a community-based preapprenticeship program that provides job training and education opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24 who have previously dropped out of high school. Participants have the opportunity to gain vocational skills in construction and other in-demand industries like health care, information technology, hospitality and advanced manufacturing.
During the program, participants split time between their vocational training site and the classroom. While gaining occupational skills, they also earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree, learn to be community leaders, and prepare for their next steps, such as college, apprenticeships or employment. The program also includes support services such as mentoring, follow-up education, personal counseling services, community service and civic engagement. While participating locally, students serve the Buffalo community by building or renovating housing, schools or community facilities in local neighborhoods.
Higgins’ team said, “This grant will provide critical funding for The Service Collaborative’s YouthBuild Buffalo program in Western New York. The program has proven to be transformational. In Western New York, 84% of YouthBuild Buffalo participants earn a high school diploma or an industry-recognized certification. It outpaces the program’s national success, which stands at 73%.”
Higgins sent a letter of support for the YouthBuild grant to U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh. In December, Walsh visited Buffalo – at Higgins’ request – highlighting the need to support workforce training and apprenticeship opportunities.
To learn more about YouthBuild, visit https://www.tscwny.org/Experience-Service/Youth-Workforce-Development.