Funding Alert! YouthBuild Grants

Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration

Attention agencies that work with at-risk youth! The Department of Labor (DOL) – Employment and Training Administration (ETA) recently opened applications for its annual YouthBuild program. This program supports organizations that provide education, occupational skills training, and/or employment services to youth ages 16 to 24. Through the wrap-around model that includes mentoring, trauma-informed care, counseling, and employment services, these at-risk youth perform meaningful work within their communities while developing in-demand occupational skills. The deadline for proposals is coming up quickly on January 21, 2022.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are public or private nonprofit agencies, including rural, urban, or Native American agencies that have experience serving disadvantaged youth in a YouthBuild or similar program. Examples of eligible organizations include community and faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits, workforce development boards, educational institutions, community action agencies, or state or local housing development agencies, among others.

Organizations operating YouthBuild programs must develop meaningful partnerships, collaborations, and relationships with other agencies providing wrap-around services and with local and regional employers. This network-building supports program success and strengthens workforce development efforts. The programs are also required to partner with American Job Centers (one-stop career centers). Applicants must initiate this partnership conversation with their local Workforce Development Board prior to submitting their application.

What are the program details?

YouthBuild balances project-based academic learning and occupational skills training to assist at-risk youth with earning their high school diploma or GED and to prepare them for various career pathways (e.g., job placement, apprenticeship, or further education or training). In addition, YouthBuild improves the availability of affordable housing, as the youth participate in the construction or renovation of homes for sale or rent to low-income families and/or those experiencing homelessness.

YouthBuild programs are considered “pre-apprenticeship” programs, which is a key strategy for increasing employability. Pre-apprenticeships include the following components:

1) Training and curriculum aligned with the needs of local or regional employers;

2) Access to supportive services, such as educational and career counseling;

3) Hands-on, meaningful learning activities connected to education and training;

4) Opportunities to earn at least one industry-recognized credential; and

5) A partnership with at least one registered apprenticeship program to assist with placement beyond YouthBuild.

The 40-month period of performance (expected to start May 1, 2022) includes the following:

  • Four-month planning period to hire program staff, finalize agreements with the job center or Workforce Development Board, make budget revisions and confirm match source/amount, and initiate recruitment/outreach of participants;
  • Two years of active program services (education, occupational skills training, and youth leadership development activities) for one or more youth cohorts; and
  • One year of follow-up support services and tracking outcomes for each cohort.

DOL expects approximately $90 million in funding to support 75 projects, at least half of which are from applicants who have demonstrated previous success with YouthBuild funding. Awards range from $700,000 to $1.5 million and require non-federal matching funds of at least 25% (Tribal entities may be exempt from this requirement).

What makes a project a good fit?

YouthBuild programs are required to offer construction skills training to youth, as one of the overarching program goals is to increase affordable housing. Applicants should demonstrate their commitment to this goal of creating permanent housing for individuals and families from low-income households and/or those experiencing homelessness. This is accomplished by enrolling and training a sufficient number of youth who will participate in the construction or substantial renovation of at least one unit of housing within the project period. Applicants may incorporate a Construction Plus industry component (which allows for additional training in specific, in-demand industries beyond construction) to receive priority consideration. You can find more information about Construction Plus here.

DOL will also offer priority consideration to applicants incorporating comprehensive green building practices (e.g., knowledge of sustainable building materials, solar panel installation, green weatherization processes, and use of energy-start appliances).

What if I am ready to apply?

To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Check out other opportunities to work with the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration. The agency website provides resources regarding other grant programs, workforce tools and strategies, and employment news.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series throughout 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit leaders before and during the application process. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs