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US Department of Labor announces availability of nearly $26 million in grants to help juvenile offenders gain the skills necessary to enter the work force

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of approximately $26 million in grants to improve the long-term labor market prospects of youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The “Face Forward” grants are designed to give youth a chance at success by offering support services,  training and skills development that can help them obtain employment and overcome the stigma of a juvenile record.

“Part of the American spirit is a belief in second chances, especially when it comes to young people,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “With these grants, we can encourage young people to ‘Face Forward’ and build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.”

Juvenile arrests often result in lifelong barriers to advancement in the work force. Grant applicants who receive funding will be expected to collaborate with nonprofit legal services providers to assist in the expunging of court records and/or be designated by the juvenile justice system as a diversion program. Grants under this solicitation must include each of the following project components: diversion and/or expungement—required for all participants; case management; mentoring; education; training that leads to industry recognized credentials for in-demand industries and occupations in the state or local area; service-learning; work force activities; and postprogram support and follow-up services.

Approximately 26 grants of up to $1 million each will be awarded to serve juvenile offenders between the ages of 16 and 24. Eligible participants in grantee programs must be between ages 16 and 24, currently reside in the geographic area to be served, and must have been involved in or currently involved in the juvenile justice system or be candidates for state juvenile diversion programs. Participating juveniles cannot have been involved with the adult federal, state or local criminal justice systems or convicted of a sex-related offense other than prostitution.

Any nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status, unit of state or local government, or any Indian and Native American entity eligible for grants under Workforce Investment Act Section 166, in areas with high poverty and crime rates, that meet the requirements of the solicitation may apply.

The solicitation for grant applications, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov.

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