Birmingham and Bessemer housing authorities each receive $1.5m for youth workforce development

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Congresswoman Terri Sewell was in town Monday to announce millions for workforce training for young people.

The money is part of a grant from the US Department of Labor and will be used to train young people aged 16 to 24 for careers in health care or construction.

More than $4.2 million in US Department of Labor grants are coming to Birmingham and Bessemer.

Housing authorities in both cities on Monday received $1.5 million from the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program to prepare at-risk youth for the job market.

“We are indeed pleased that the federal government is leveraging federal resources to help underserved and at-risk youth, and I am especially excited because the YouthBuild program actually enables youth who are part of the cohort to receive ‘money while they’re learning’, Rep. Sewell.

HABD matched its prize for a total of $3 million, providing additional resources for participants.

“When I think of YouthBuild, I think of second chances. For some, second chances are not an option. Thus, participants who have a second chance to graduate from high school have a second chance to access post-secondary training opportunities and acquire vocational skills in construction and other high-demand fields such as than health care,” said the President and CEO. of HABD, Dontrelle Young Foster.

The program is currently in the recruiting phase and HABD said it will be knocking on doors and implementing an online campaign to generate interest.

Demand for skilled trades and apprenticeships continues to grow in our area and the Housing Authority says this grant will help them put young people on a direct path to the careers of the future.

“They will get an allowance and that will help them get to the finish line. Most of them are not at home with mom and dad. They are trying to live their own lives and trying to do better. So, no only they will have some money in their pocket, but we will support and encourage them along the way,” said HABD Director of Workforce Development, Jacqueline French.

The goal is to graduate at least 84 participants in construction and healthcare over the next 3 years.

Each cohort will have 20 to 25 students who will participate in 6-month training programs.

For more information on the YouthBuild program, visit


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