Program Helps 'High Risk' Youth

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Wichita leaders are going after part of a federal grant for "Youth Build," a program that gives young people the skills that will help them get jobs in the construction industry.

"Youth Build" has programs in many other cities across the country, but so far, Kansas City is the only one in Kansas. Wichita is hoping to change that.

Students are taking advantage of a grant at the Kansas School for Effective Learning that teaches them construction skills. They also get help getting their high school diploma, if they don't already have one.

The grant application for "Youth Build" is hundreds of pages long. The city of Wichita completed the application and submitted it to the U.S. Department of Labor. It is a $1.1 million dollar grant which targets high risk 16 to 24-year-olds.

According to the Census Bureau, there are thousands of high risk people in that age group. In Wichita, there are 7,426 that fit into that category, and more than 9,000 in Sedgwick County.

Besides getting a diploma, they want the students to learn how to build and remodel houses while also teaching them other life skills as simple as budgeting or as complex as getting along with others.

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