Labor Dept. Announces Major Funding for Youth Intermediaries

The Department of Labor announced plans to spend $20 million on four intermediary-led, multi-state efforts to connect juvenile offenders with education and job-training opportunities.

The department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will use fiscal 2012 funding appropriated through the Workforce Investment Act to fund the four ventures, which according to the solicitation for the funds will include:

  • Workforce development
  • Education and training
  • Case management
  • Mentoring
  • Restorative justice
  • Community-wide violence reduction components
  • Post-program support and follow-up

The awards will go to intermediary organizations, which will only be allowed to manage the work; all program services must be carried out by sub-grantees selected in a competitive process to be conducted after the awards are announced.

The intermediaries will be responsible for providing services in at least three high-crime communities located in at least two states. The services can be delivered to anyone over the age of 14 who has been involved with the juvenile justice system in the past year, and who has not convicted as an adult in criminal court.

Up to 10 percent of the enrollees in each of the four projects can be youth who have not yet been involved with the juvenile justice system, but are at risk to do so.

“The purpose of these grants is to improve the long-term labor market prospects of these youth,” the solicitation says. “We will award these grants through a competitive process open to organizations with the capacity to implement multi-site, multi-state projects.”

This is the second consecutive year that Labor has awarded the funding. Last year, in addition to the four major grants, another $30 million went to local projects that targeted 18- to 21-year-old former offenders.

ETA funded a similar venture in 2011, aimed at 18-to 24-year-olds, though it became a messy affair. The agency initially awarded $10 million each to The Corps Network and YouthBuild USA to help dropouts and juvenile offenders in the job market, but the results were challenged anonymously by a losing applicant.

ETA then re-competed the funds and awarded the grants in May of 2011 to Public/Private Ventures, a Philadelphia-based organization which would go out of business a year later, and the Bakersfield, Calif.-based Latino Coalition for Faith and Community Leadership, which had been dormant since 2009.

The next year, funding from fiscal 2010 funds went to YouthBuild USA and the Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services.

Interestingly, the Latino Coalition for Community Leadership, which at some point dropped “Faith” from its title, did eventually received its fiscal 2009 funding, in the fall of 2012.

Its website touts a $10 million grant from ETA to work with former juvenile offenders between 18 and 24 years of age in Buffalo, Denver and Los Angeles.

The coalition hosted a webinar in January to inform potential sub-grantees about the project; the deadline for applicants was in late February.

None of the intermediaries who won in these previous cycles are eligible to apply this time around, according to the solicitation released late last week.

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