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Swain Bill to Launch YouthBuild Grant Program Clears Assembly Committee

Program provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth

(TRENTON) — The Assembly Labor Committee today advanced legislation that would establish a grant program to strengthen and expand YouthBuild programs statewide. Since 1970, community-based YouthBuild has provided job training and educational opportunities to at-risk youth ages 16-24. The bill, A-5582, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, aims to increase the number of young adults who can benefit from YouthBuild to obtain the education, vocational training, leadership skills, and personal counseling they need to be economically self-sufficient.

Housed within the New Jersey Division of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD), this grant program would support not-for-profit private agencies that are affiliated with YouthBuild USA or have received a federal Housing and Urban Development award. Through the program, eligible organizations can use funding to offer integrated education and job skills training and activities, vocational learning experiences, counseling services. The funding will also provide financial assistance with the acquisition, rehabilitation, and construction of housing that can serve as vocational training sites. These homes can then be used to provide home ownership opportunities for disadvantaged individuals.

“YouthBuild has a long history of empowering the next generation, helping students gain job skills and become community leaders of tomorrow,” said Assemblywoman Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic). “By expanding this program, we have the potential to build not just homes, but also futures for the participating youth and those who will benefit from their work.”

Funding for this grant program would come from existing federal funds allocated to the DLWD.

The committee advanced the bill 9-0.