Sojourners Receives YouthBuild Grant

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Thousands of young people will being gaining support to achieve academic and occupational milestones.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday an award of $73,654,300 in YouthBuild grants. YouthBuild of Southeast Ohio, a program of Sojourner Care Network, received $1,100,000 of that money.

Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. Secretary of Labor says the program offers resources to “punch their ticket to the middle class.”

The grants aims to help at risk youth obtain certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The most recent grant will help approximately 4,800 youth in 71 YouthBuild programs across 31 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sojourner’s has been around since 1999. Many of the organization’s participants have been in the juvenile justice system, foster care, are homeless, or have dropped out of school.

The Sojourner Care Network has been around for 15 years with 13 of those years including a YouthBuild program. Traditionally, YouthBuild of Southeast Ohio has served young people in several counties of Appalachian Ohio. Richard Games, co-executive director and co-founder of Sojourners, says their participants spend half their time pursuing their diplomas or GEDs and while the other half learns job readiness skills. Participants also build and rehabilitate houses.

YouthBuild participants will have the opportunity to receive several industry certifications, including 10-hour OSHA; Logistics Art; Work Keys; and NCCER, a standardized construction and maintenance curricula with portable, industry-recognized credentials.

Additionally, YouthBuilders receive real world experience staffing the Sojo Eco Community Recycling Center, which accepts all recycling and buys metals. All proceeds from the recycling operation support the YouthBuild Program.