$1M grant awarded to YWCA YouthBuild program

Hampden County

The Federal government has provided more than $1 million to expand a program that helps young people turn their lives around in Springfield.

Congressman Richard Neal announced the U.S Labor department has awarded the YWCA more than $1 million to double the enrollment from 30 to 63.

“I like to think of it as the trampoline effect. People hit the trampoline and they bounce back, I think the Metaphor that’s appropriate for this occasion,” said Neal.

According to a news release sent to 22News by YWCA, the grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will be used to expand the YouthBuild program.

The program, which currently serve 30 youths, is a workforce development program for people 17-24 who have dropped out of high school and come across barriers to an education. 

For those unable to graduate from the public school system, the program provides trade skills or vocational training. Such training can lead to employment or a skill that will help participants be sustained financially.

Talia Hunter, a YouthBuild enrollee, told 22News, “They’ve done a lot, now i’m enrolled in Baystate as a student and I’m about to enter my CNA class.”

“It gave me an outlook, a better perspective what I want to do in life,” said Alex Rodriguez, a YouthBuild enrollee.

The program also provides participants with help studying for the High School Equivalency Test and the pre-apprenticeship certification training from the Home Builders institute. 

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