A federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will give dropout students another option for attaining their diplomas or GEDs.
The $625,000 grant will be awarded to the YMCA of Middle Tennessee to operate a YouthBuild program in Nashville. The program assists dropouts in obtaining their degrees while also providing occupational training in the construction industry.
“YouthBuild is exactly the kind of program we wanted to attract through the Alternative High School Initiative — it gives students who have dropped out a second chance,” Dean said. “There are no throwaway people in our society.
“We need to continue to reduce the number of students that dropout of our schools, but we also need to go after those who have already dropped out and get them back on track. It’s the right thing to do from both a moral and economic standpoint.”
The YMCA will soon begin accepting applications for YouthBuild, which is open to men and women ages 18-24 through an application process outlined by the Department of Labor. Those interested in applying can contact Tim Queener at 615-372-9489 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thirty youth will be accepted in each of the two years, and will complete a nine-month program, with at least one year of post-completion follow up.
YouthBuild is part of the Alternative High School Initiative (AHSI), a network of youth development organizations that works to create educational opportunities for young people for whom traditional school settings have not been optimal. Participation with AHSI has been spearheaded by Mayor Karl Dean and Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, and development of a local AHSI network is led by school district and city officials.