The WorkPlace lands $1.1 million grant for YouthBuild program in Bridgeport

By Kevin Zimmerman

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The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $1.1 million grant to The WorkPlace for a YouthBuild program in Bridgeport. Created by the USDOL in the 1990s, YouthBuild is a nonprofit organization that provides education, counseling and job skills to unemployed young Americans, typically high school dropouts, between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity again,” said WorkPlace President and CEO Joe Carbone, who noted that the group had also received a YouthBuild grant in 2007.

Carbone said YouthBuild Bridgeport will serve 65 at-risk youth over 27 months beginning Oct. 1. During that time, participants will learn academic skills through classroom and online contextual learning via a tablet computer supplied by the program as a means of earning a high school diploma or GED; learn occupational skills in carpentry, electrical, or HVAC; complete construction-related community service projects for local agencies, such as building wheelchair ramps for disabled veterans; complete construction of at least two units of low-income housing in Bridgeport; and develop a career plan and receive leadership training that includes participation with community leaders in a Policy Council.

Partners in the program include the state Department of Labor, Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County, Park City Communities, the City of Bridgeport/Bridgeport Police Department, Housatonic Community College, and Union Locals 777 (Plumbers and Pipefitters), 210 (Carpenters), 488 (Electrical) and 665 (Laborers International).

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