$1.2 MILLION NOW AVAILABLE FOR YOUTH
Labor and Workforce Development Funds to Help Alaska's At-Risk Youth
Young Alaskans having trouble completing high
school or finding and keeping a job will benefit from a new wave of federal training and
employment grant funds now available through the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce
Development. "Approximately $1.2 million for in-school and out-of-school youth
programs through the Workforce Investment Act will help young people who have either
dropped out of high school or have gotten a diploma and are looking for work," Labor
Commissioner Ed Flanagan said.
These grants are part of a national and statewide focus for designing and reinforcing
year-round community youth services and resources leading to academic and job success. The
Labor Department's Employment Security Division has just issued a Request for Proposals
(RFP) to distribute the grant money to organizations throughout Alaska. Youth program
grantees are typically educational or nonprofit agencies that specialize in youth
employment and training services. The deadline to respond is May 15, 2000, except in
Northwestern Alaska, served by the Labor Department's Nome Job Training and Work Readiness
office, whose deadline is May 22, 2000.
"The idea is to prepare young people for the day when they'll be supporting
themselves and possibly a family," added Flanagan. Services typically funded include
academic, occupational, vocational, work readiness, and life skills training to give youth
the right credentials to contribute as productive members of Alaska's workforce and
Agencies awarded youth grants in the past include the Kuskokwim Native Association for a
community garden in Aniak. To cultivate good work habits among youth, teenagers 14-18 were
hired to tend the garden and grow food for the village. For many, it was their first job.
They also attended classes to improve math and reading skills, write resumes, and prepare
for job interviews. A testament to project's success is the fact that the former teen
gardeners are now working as local school aides, in maintenance jobs for the city, as
cargo handlers at the local airport, and have worked at the Donlin Creek exploratory gold
Traditionally, federal grant funds were separately available for summer youth programs,
but under the new Workforce Investment Act, all youth employment and training money is
combined for annual distribution and linked to academic and occupational learning
outcomes. The ultimate goal is to create and maintain a range of educational and
employment incentives to help youth become self-sufficient in their chosen careers.