Some youth in the City of North Charleston are facing barriers to achieving and retaining gainful employment, yet there is an abundance of opportunities available. To help bolster employability, the U.S. Department of Labor is making $1,615,102 available to the state of South Carolina to fund a demonstration project for youth in the City of North Charleston. This grant, administered by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, will fund the development of two satellite American Job Centers in disadvantaged areas of the community to improve access to high-quality job training and employment services.
The centers will offer six week pre-employment programs that combine both classroom instruction and work-based training opportunities. Participants will enhance their job-readiness and will have opportunities for job training and paid work experience in high-growth industries including manufacturing, information technology, transportation/logistics, healthcare, specialty trades, and hospitality.
The North Charleston area has demonstrated an extraordinary and compelling need for targeted assistance – including unemployment, crime, and low graduation rates in certain neighborhoods. The grant will serve youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 who have been disconnected from the labor force – meaning that they are not enrolled in school and not currently working.
The Trident Workforce Development Board Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) will play an integral role in ensuring the success of this pilot project. Resources will be maximized and participants will have access to a wide range of services to address their barriers to employment. Additionally, the knowledge and insight the Youth Advisory members, well experienced from their personal involvement with targeted youth, will prove invaluable in the implementation of the program. This grant will allow the YAC to further align partnerships and resources to expand educational and employment opportunities for the youth in the North Charleston community.
The demonstration project will test new strategies that build on existing best practices for preparing youth to succeed at work, including career education and preparation, summer programs, and comprehensive and integrated career pathway models that align education and training programs to enable participants to earn industry-recognized credentials and gain meaningful employment. In addition, participants will receive valuable work experience for future employment endeavors.
“A principle that has guided me throughout my life is that we all succeed when we all succeed. We cannot afford to ignore the challenges facing our young people today. We have a moral obligation to do all we can to ensure that opportunity is available to all,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The grant we are announcing today will offer young people in North Charleston, who are at-risk of falling off the economic ladder, a chance to chart a new course, gain job skills and find stable, meaningful careers.”
“Certain areas of North Charleston have been plagued with higher than average unemployment,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “North Charleston is full of world-class businesses, from large corporate employers to small business entrepreneurs. This grant will further assist the youth and young adults in developing themselves into well-qualified candidates for career employment. With meaningful employment, many neighborhood issues like low homeownership and crime begin to fade away.”
“The Trident Workforce Investment Board is pleased to participate with the City of North Charleston on this project,” said BCD COG Executive Director Ron Mitchum. We have a stellar youth program at SC Works Charleston and are looking forward to serving the youth population in the City of North Charleston through this grant.”
For more information on the grant, administered by BCD COG, contact Program Coordinator Donna Cunningham at 843-529-0400 x223.