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MO Group Receives Grant to Help Young People Start Careers


Tuesday, May 24, 2022   

The St. Joseph Youth Alliance has been awarded a YouthBuild Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, to help students earn their high school equivalencies and work toward a career.

The Youth Alliance program has two pathways. In one, students earn a construction pre-apprenticeship credential and build a home for a low-income family. In the other, they train to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

Robin Hammond, executive director of the Alliance, said case managers are there to assist participants if they decide on other postsecondary opportunities.

"If there is additional trades training or potentially nursing school that one of our participants are interested in, then we help them to pursue that avenue," Hammond explained.

Overall, the Labor Department awarded nearly $90.4 million, including $1.35 million to the St. Joseph Youth Alliance. The YouthBuild grants are part of a Biden administration goal to create equitable and sustainable jobs in high-demand industries, with a focus on energy efficiency and green building techniques.

YouthBuild is targeted to lower-income people ages 16 to 24, but since you need to be 17 to drop out of high school in Missouri, the Youth Alliance program is focused on those 17 and up. Hammond pointed out that not making it through traditional high school says nothing about a student's intelligence, nor their ability to be contributors to society.

"There's a lot of different factors that come into play why somebody may not make it through the traditional school," Hammond contended. "But we know that a young person that doesn't have a high school education is more than likely going to fight a life living in poverty. And we can support that young person out of that situation."

Hammond added they also work to give participants opportunities for community service, job readiness and interview training, plus education about budgeting and money management; all are skills young people preparing for adulthood will need. The Youth Alliance is one of 20 community partnerships across the state affiliated with the Missouri Family and Community Trust.

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