Grant funding boosts programming at The Workplace

January 30, 2019

More grant funding is on its way to The WorkPlace to help train Bridgeport youth.

The Bridgeport-based organization is expected to receive $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor toward its YouthBuild Bridgeport program which provides at-risk city youth an education and job training.

“We’re very excited for it,” said Tom Long, vice president of marketing and communications.

The federal funding is part of an $85 million total that the DOL is dividing among 81 YouthBuild programs nationwide, according to a Wednesday press release. Grants range from about $700,000 to $1.1 million.

The DOL’s YouthBuild program has a network of more than 200 urban and rural branches in 46 states. It provides education and training with a pre-apprenticeship component focused on helping at-risk youth earn a diploma, GED, certifications or the skills necessary to get a job.

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board in Waterbury is the only other Connecticut-based organization slated to receive a grant for roughly the same amount as Bridgeport.

This is the second time the Bridgeport-based organization has received federal funding for its YouthBuild Bridgeport program since adding it to the list of initiatives in 2016.

The WorkPlace received the same amount in 2016 for the program which wrapped up its last round of classes a few weeks ago, Long said. This next grant will go toward supporting 65 youth in Bridgeport between 16 and 24 years old over the next two years.

“It’s a great way to bring community partners together. It has a very positive impact and change in the lives of youth to help them get the core skills and education that they need, both academic and going toward certification, and credentials they would need to get jobs that are needed and pay well,” Long said.

Grant funding will be used toward the program’s curriculum and instruction and to provide participants with supplies for work.

The WorkPlace works with several organizations during the program, including Habitat for Humanity, Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport Police and trade unions.

The program usually works with multiple groups with up to 20 students who go through the training program for roughly six to eight months.

The next groups of participants will be chosen in the spring, Long said. Information will be featured on the main website and through outreach through their other programs.


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