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New DEED Funding to Help At-Risk Teens Develop In-Demand Job Skills and Increase Access to Affordable Housing

10/12/2023 12:16:49 PM

St. Paul – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced $600,000 in new Youthbuild grants to four community organizations that serve several Minnesota communities. Youthbuild grantees provide at-risk young people construction training and work experience, and the young program participants renovate or build new affordable housing for low-income community members.

The four new grantees – each receiving $150,000 in grant funding– and their communities of focus are:

  • Workforce Development, Inc.: Faribault, Northfield and the surrounding area
  • Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota: Twin Cities metro, primarily the Midway and Eastside neighborhoods of St. Paul and north Minneapolis
  • The Man Up Club: Twin Cities metro, primarily downtown and north Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park and the Eastside neighborhood of St. Paul
  • Riverside Plaza Tenants' Association: Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis

"Youthbuild is a win-win for at-risk Minnesota young people and the communities where they live," said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. "Helping young people get on a good career path helps them envision and work toward a promising future for themselves. Building more affordable housing helps more low-income families find a good place to live and create greater stability in their lives. This is another example of how DEED delivers for Minnesota's young people, workforce and communities."

Youthbuild grantees serve young people who have dropped out of high school or are at-risk for dropping out and are economically disadvantaged or are otherwise eligible for the Graduation Incentives Program, established by the state Legislature to serve at-risk young people.

These newly announced Youthbuild grants will serve about 100 at-risk young people ages 16-24. Grantees will lead youth in building or renovating approximately 10 units of affordable housing in their respective communities that will be available to low-income families and individuals by the end of June 2025. Youthbuild participants will also construct an additional 20 projects, such as picnic tables, community garden planters and water pipe insulation boxes for manufactured homes in those same communities.

Youthbuild participants will engage in:

  • Construction-based job training and work experience
  • Employment preparation
  • Career planning and exploration services
  • Support to earn a diploma or GED
  • Leadership development
  • Counseling and case management
  • Job placement assistance and follow-up support for 12 months after they complete the program

"Young people can face many barriers to completing their education and finding employment on a promising career path" said DEED Youth Services Director Kay Tracy. "Youthbuild helps at-risk young people through hands-on learning and an array of support services to help them achieve success. Helping people get on a good career path when they are young can change the trajectory of their entire lives."

DEED doubled its funding available for youth workforce development programs during the last legislative session. Three DEED programs – Youthbuild, Youth at Work and the Minnesota Youth Program – will help prepare more than 38,000 Minnesota young people to enter the workforce focused and work-ready.

Find out more about Youthbuild on the DEED website.


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