Long Beach Receives $1 Million Grant to Provide Career Training for 250 At-Risk Youth

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The City of Long Beach has received a $1 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to provide career training for 250 youth at risk of dropping out of high school, becoming involved in the criminal justice system, or already hampered by juvenile records. The City was one of only five organizations nationwide to receive the Pathways to Justice Careers grant.

“It is imperative that we do all we can to make sure our youth are trained and able to find work,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This grant provides 250 young people with the career skills they need to succeed and meet the needs of our local employers.”

The funding will enable the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network to expose at-risk youth ages 16 to 21 to justice and emergency services careers; mentor and encourage participants to complete their education; and help them avoid engaging or re-engaging with the criminal justice system.

Supportive services are individualized to each participating youth and include case management; career exploration of justice and emergency management fields; mentoring via peers, recruited professionals, employers, and school staff; program incentives; and civic engagement/leadership development activities.

The youth will learn how to complete a career pathway program and understand the spectrum of job options in various fields, such as police officers or detectives, forensic science technicians, probation officers, paralegals, law clerks, court reporters, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

Work experience programs have been shown to have a positive impact on school attendance, dropout rates and school engagement.

The grants announced today build on other efforts, including the Labor Department’s “Face Forward” initiative to help justice-involved youth overcome early barriers to employment through occupational training and credentials that will help them open the door to career success.

This grant’s goal also aligns closely with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which seeks to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people and often by boys and young men of color.

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