One Youthbuild grant of $920,000 was awarded in Alaska to SAGA, a 22 year old nonprofit based in Juneau that provides leadership and skills development programs to young adults statewide. The grant will support SAGA's Young Alaskans Building Affordable Housing program. Since 1996 YABAH has built two homes in Fairbanks, 6 in Juneau, and 3 in Sitka with a total of 150 young adults. YABAH participants include individuals who have been in the juvenile justice system, youth aging out of foster care, and high school dropouts. Under this grant, 32 high school dropouts will spend 6-9 months in the Sitka based program, earn their diploma, a monthly training stipend, an AmeriCorps Education Award, build 2 affordable homes from the ground up, and transition into jobs, and/or post secondary education/training.
Partnerships are a key component of a successful Youthbuild grant. "The enthusiasm and support for this program by the primary partners in Sitka; the Baranof Island Housing Authority (BIHA), and the membership of the Sitka Education Consortium (SEC), is what made this grant successful" said Joe Parrish, SAGA's Executive Director. BIHA is contributing two lots for the program and construction materials for two homes. The SEC has dedicated a classroom for the program in its new SE Alaska Career Center.
Commissioner Bishop of Labor and Workforce Development was also on hand and said his long-standing goal in private life and as labor commissioner has been to create more entry-level job opportunities in Alaska, and to guide young people into apprenticeship programs.
"Young people in YouthBuild can take pride in the fact that they are not only improving their own lives, but also making a positive difference for their families, friends and neighbors," said US Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. "Their participation in this creative program will help them take the first steps toward a variety of rewarding educational opportunities and careers."
The program is now recruiting for participants and some staff positions. The primary recruitment area is Southeast Alaska. For more information, feel free to call SAGA at 907-789-6172.
The US DOL news release can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/whatsnew/new_releases/2007-10-13.cfm.