Heart of Oregon Corps announced today that it was awarded $1.1 million in funding for its successful YouthBuild program to help disconnected Central Oregon youth earn their high school or General Educational Development diploma while learning critical occupational skills in the construction field.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis declared the agency one of 74 YouthBuild programs across 28 states and the District of Columbia selected to receive $75 million in federal YouthBuild grants. The agency is the only program in Oregon selected to receive federal funding this budget cycle. “YouthBuild offers young people the opportunity to earn academic and industry-recognized credentials, practice the skills they’ll need to succeed at work, and experience what it means to contribute to their own success and that of their communities,” said Secretary Solis. U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild grants range in size from $700,000 to $1.1 million each and are aimed at helping nearly 5,000 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The Labor Department now actively funds 127 YouthBuild programs in the United States.
The funding will support 2 years of Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild programing with an additional year of follow-up services. The program will serve 73 youth, ages 16-24 from disadvantaged backgrounds and hire 6 additional full and part-time staff members – teachers, construction trainers, and advocates. Young people will earn high school diplomas and GEDs, prepare for the workforce and post-secondary education, earn certifications and AmeriCorps scholarships, develop leadership skills, and engage in service-learning projects to benefit the community. The grant will enable program participants to build at least 4 single-family affordable homes for local families in need.
“Independent research shows that every dollar spent on every YouthBuild student results in a value to society of at least $7.80 and up to $43.90 in taxes paid, crimes not committed, and dependency overcome. The investment made by the Department of Labor in Heart of Oregon Corps’ YouthBuild program represents a direct monetary benefit to the region and will dramatically improve our Central Oregon community,” said Laura Handy, Executive Director. “We look forward to serving 73 young adults who are motivated to transform their lives by preparing them for our local workforce through construction training and education.”
Heart of Oregon established its YouthBuild program in 2009, based at Brown Education Center through a partnership with Redmond School District. There are 24 regional partners who will lend support to the program, including: Redmond School District, High Desert Education Service District, Central Oregon Community College, The College Place, Local Workforce Investment Board, WorkSource Central Oregon Employment Department, Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, Central Oregon Builders Association, Hayden Homes, Mt Bachelor, BendBroadband, Habitat for Humanity, First Story, Deschutes County Department of Community Justice, Jefferson Department of Community Justice, Crook County Juvenile Department, Oregon State University-Cascades Campus, Oregon Dept. of Human Services, Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Housing Works, Volunteers in Medicine, Volunteer Connect, YouthBuild USA Affiliated Network.
The agency is currently recruiting eligible YouthBuild participants and caring adults from the community to serve as volunteer mentors, apply at www.heartoforegon.org.
About Heart of Oregon Corps
The mission of Heart of Oregon Corps is to inspire and empower positive change in lives of young adults through jobs, education and stewardship. Founded in 2000, the agency operates a youth employment training program that reduces poverty, stimulates economic growth, and maintains the natural environment. For more information, visit http://www.heartoforegon.org
YouthBuild is a nonresidential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to at-risk individuals ages 16-24. Many participants have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational milestones and opportunities that lead to career fulfillment. There are 273 YouthBuild programs in 46 states, Washington, DC., and the Virgin Islands engaging approximately 10,000 young adults per year. For more information, visit www.youthbuild.org.