Benton Harbor Youth Build Gets Nearly $1M From U.S. Dept of Labor

Congressman Fred Upton is a perpetual champion for the young people of Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. Whether it’s money for FIRST Robotics or dollars to sustain Benton Harbor’s YouthBuild program, you can find him at the forefront of the pitch to bring the money back home where it can be put to work to help build skilled trades careers for the youth of the marketplace.

Today was a banner day on that front as Congressman Upton announced that Benton Harbor’s YouthBuild program has been awarded nearly $1M dollars to sustain the program. The $989,508 awarded today is part of nearly $85-million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Revealing the grant, Upton said, “This is good news for Benton Harbor’s YouthBuild program. This program – the oldest of its kind in Michigan – provides our students with the real world skills to succeed in today’s economy – and specifically right here at home in Southwest Michigan.” He added, “Benton Harbor’s program has an incredible record of success over the last eight years and this grant will ensure the good work continues.”

The Benton Harbor YouthBuild is shepherded and administered by the team at Kinexus, where VP of Public Relations and Government Affairs Al Pscholka says, “We appreciate Congressman Upton’s support for this important project in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties.” He adds, “We look forward to rebuilding the talent pipeline in construction trades that are in high demand in Southwest Michigan and experiencing a shortage. This program is a key cog in rebuilding that pipeline and setting these students up for success.”

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YouthBuild is an education and training program with a strong pre-apprenticeship component that helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, gain experience for in-demand occupations, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement of some $85 million in grants for YouthBuild programs will be spread across 32 states.

This set of awards marks a significant expansion of the Construction Plus model of YouthBuild, which allows grantees to offer training in locally in-demand industries beyond the required construction training, such as healthcare, information technology, hospitality and retail services, and logistics. This year’s grant awards include 65 programs that applied to offer Construction Plus training.

The grants announced today range from approximately $700,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 81 YouthBuild programs, including the Benton Harbor program.

The U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild program has a network of more than 200 urban and rural YouthBuild programs in 46 states.