Historically, high school students in the nation’s poorest neighborhoods have faced barriers to receiving an education equal to students in the wealthiest neighborhoods.
In the past year, closures and virtual learning forced by the pandemic are deepening the inequality and are likely to hurt disadvantaged students’ future earning potential, a recent Yale University study shows.
To help combat the growing disparity, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced a funding opportunity for $90 million in YouthBuild program grants to provide occupational skills training, employment services, and educational support to disadvantaged young people, ages 16-24, in communities where inequalities hinder basic academic and career skills development. The funds will also provide pre-apprenticeship services for in-demand industries including construction, healthcare, information technology, and hospitality.
Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, these grants will fund approximately 75 projects nationwide with individual grants ranging from $700,000 to $1.5 million.
The opportunity follows the department’s 2021 guidance that prioritizes quality jobs, green building and community violence intervention. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act supports the grants.
In the past, YouthBuild grants have enabled program participants to support initiatives such as: