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Dept. Of Labor’s YouthBuild Teaches Skills To Young Adults Who Have Not Completed High School Or Are At Risk of Failing; Administration’s 2020 Budget Slashes YouthBuild Funding By Millions 

In Schenectady, Schumer Pledges To Thwart Administration’s Ill-Advised Cut To YouthBuild, Launches Push To Maintain Funding For Job-Boosting Capital Region Program In Appropriations Process 

Schumer To Feds: YouthBuild Has Been—And Must Remain—A Job-Creating Lifeline To +1K Of Capital Region Youth 

Standing at Schenectady’s Social Enterprise and Training (SEAT) Center, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a major effort to reverse the administration’s proposed devastating cuts to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) YouthBuild program. YouthBuild is an essential career-training program in the Capital Region and other parts of New York State that helps at-risk youth from ages 16 to 24 develop trade skills and knowledge to gain industry-recognized job credentials, apprenticeships and employment. In addition to the successful Schenectady program, Schumer also pointed to a recent grant to the Troy program, which is run by the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) for the Greater Capital Region, and which uses the SEAT Center to train the students. Together, the Schenectady and Troy programs have helped over 1,000 students gain workforce training in the construction trades, emergency medical technology and culinary services. Therefore, Schumer called on the administration to reverse course and eliminate the 6% cut to YouthBuild and launched a major effort to maintain funding for the program in the appropriations process, to ensure Capital Region youth have access to the tools needed to get and retain good-paying jobs.

“YouthBuild has been a vital lifeline for over 1,000 at-risk young adults in the Capital Region, helping them to learn the trade skills necessary to get and keep good-paying jobs. With such a proven track record of success, YouthBuild is exactly the type of program that the federal government should be boosting funding for, not slashing,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m urging the administration to reverse course and eliminate the proposed cuts to YouthBuild, and if they don’t listen, vowing to fight with everything I’ve got to maintain funding for the program during the appropriations process. You don’t need to be a youth counselor to know that giving at-risk youth the tools they need to have long and prosperous careers is a thing worth doing—and YouthBuild does just that.”

Schumer explained that last year, he fought to secure over $89.5 million for the federal YouthBuild program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. However, according to Schumer, the administration’s FY 2020 budget proposal slashed funding for YouthBuild by 6%, or $5 million. Additionally, even with the $89 million in federal funding for FY 2019, YouthBuild was still only able to fund 40% of the eligible project applications it received. Schumer said that this illuminates the fact that YouthBuild’s funding should, at the bare minimum, be kept even with FY 2019 levels, and not further reduced. Therefore, Schumer called on his colleagues in Congress to maintain funding for the essential job-boosting program in the FY 2020 appropriations process.

Currently, there are two YouthBuild programs operating in the Capital Region--in Schenectady and in Troy. Schumer noted that Troy’s YouthBuild program, which is run by CEO for the Greater Capital Region and has been operating for 21 years, received $1.1 million in federal funding from the DOL in February of this year. Schumer explained that the CEO for the Greater Capital Region YouthBuild program partners with the SEAT center in Schenectady, who will be using the $1.1 million in federal funding to foster construction-related skills in at-risk youth in the region. Schumer said that in total, the CEO for the Greater Capital Region YouthBuild program has served roughly 750 students.

Meanwhile, the Schenectady YouthBuild program has also benefited from millions in federal YouthBuild funding over the past few years. In 2017, 2015, 2012 and 2009 the Schenectady YouthBuild program received $1.1 million per year in DOL YouthBuild funding, and in 2007 it received just over $356 thousand. The Schenectady YouthBuild program serves young adults from the ages of 18 to 24 who have not graduated high school. The program is nine months long and helps young adults develop skills in the trades of construction, Emergency Medical Technician training, and culinary arts, which was just added. Schenectady YouthBuild participants recently finished work on a new affordable housing complex in Schenectady, and currently, are on the verge of completing a beautiful new house at 99-101 Prospect Street. Schumer noted that graduates of the Schenectady YouthBuild program are placed in construction trade unions such as the Carpenters, the Laborers or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Additionally, the Schenectady YouthBuild partners with companies like Apollo Heating and Cooling, Precision Valve & Automation, Mallozzi’s Restaurants and Catering, Mohawk Ambulance Service, Rivers Casino and Resort, Golub Corporation and many others, to ensure graduates are set up to succeed for the long-term future.

Schumer explained that in total, the Troy and Schenectady YouthBuild programs have served over 1,100 students and young adults, helping to prepare them for successful careers by fostering the technical skills needed to acquire and retain good-paying jobs. However, Schumer said, should the administration’s 6% cuts to the federal YouthBuild program be signed into law, funding for the two Capital Region YouthBuild programs could be jeopardized, stripping local young adults of critical resources and training. Schumer said to ensure the Troy and Schenectady YouthBuild programs continue receiving requisite funding to prepare Capital Region youth for the future, he would do everything possible to secure funding for the federal YouthBuild in the appropriations process.

“The YouthBuild program has been tremendously successful here in Schenectady,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy. “When you see the hundreds of young people who they have trained in the trades or as EMTs now working in the construction unions, or at Rivers Casino, or at Golub Corporation or for Mohawk Ambulance, or take a drive by 99 Prospect Street where they have just turned abandoned property into a brand new affordable home, you know how well spent this federal funding is right here in our city. I thank Senator Schumer for fighting to fully fund the YouthBuild program.”

“A proven model to engage young people, ages 16-24, in completing their high school education while learning workplace skills, YouthBuild is a key partner to many local employers who are looking for a ready workforce. Federal money is critical to ensuring our communities continue to have this resource while also helping to attract the additional funding support needed to run effective and impactful programs,” said Jennifer Lawrence, Executive Director of the SEAT Center and Schenectady YouthBuild.

YouthBuild is a job training program under the federal DOL that helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, earn industry-recognized certifications for in-demand jobs, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities. YouthBuild began 40 years ago in East Harlem, and since then, the program has grown into a network of approximately 260 locations nationwide and 147 active urban and rural YouthBuild grants. YouthBuild has supported over 180,000 young people across 45 states since federal funding for the program began in 1992, and the YouthBuild model has spread around the world to another 22 countries with nearly 100 more local programs. When compared to students in similar job training and placement programs, YouthBuild graduates have shown a 24% increase in college enrollment, a 52% increase in trade school enrollment, a 47% increase in GED achievement and a 56% increase in volunteering. Additionally, 50% of YouthBuild graduates received full-time jobs or acceptance into higher schooling and 73% of the graduates receiving full-time jobs kept them for a minimum of six months.