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Three Western New York Groups Awarded $2 Million Latino Coalition Grant

by Tracey Drury
Fri, Apr 19th 2013 11:00 am
Business First  [ View Original Article ]

Three Buffalo organizations will receive $2 million in grant funds to work with ex-offenders and high school drop-outs.

The funding from the Latino Coalition for Community Leadership is managing the Work and Gain Education & Employment Skills project with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor - Employment and Training Administration.

Buffalo, Los Angeles and Denver were selected for the two-year program, which will provide education and employment opportunities to help young adult ex-offenders and high school dropouts living in high-poverty, high-crime communities.

In Buffalo, the grants will go to three agencies: HEART Foundation, Peaceprints Prison Ministries and Catholic Charities of WNY.

The HEART Foundation (Helping Empower At-Risk Teens) is a nonprofit human service agency on Buffalo's East Side dedicated to promoting, supporting and strengthening the quality of life for young people, families and communities. Peaceprints works with individuals in prison and former offenders transitioning back to the community. Catholic Charities provides dozens of human services programs throughout the eight-county region.

Details about how the project will be implemented locally will be shared at an 11 a.m. media event on Monday, April 22 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

According to information on the Latino Coalition's website, the purpose of the grants is to prepare these individuals for employment by increasing the employment rate of participants, decreasing the recidivism rate of young offenders served, increasing the rate at which participants receive high school diplomas and industry-recognized credentials and increasing the rate at which participants enter post-secondary education and training.

The grants will provide an average of $200,000 per year for up to two years based on performance, with each agency serving at least 75 individuals. Additionally, they must provide hard skills training in high-demand occupations and "green jobs" for up to a third of all participants.

Founded in 2003, the Coalition manages and funds projects across the country aimed at improving workforce development opportunities among Latino community-based organizations. In October, the Coalition was awarded its second $10 million funding allocation from DOL/ETA and Buffalo agencies received funding for the first time.

Additionally, the Center for Transportation Excellence (CTE) in Buffalo was named as one of two project vendors selected by the Latino Coalition as a partner to provide awardees with free vocational training for participants. The CTE will serve 446 participants, providing vocational training in transportation-related jobs, as well as workforce development and delivery of transportation services to under-served and disadvantaged populations.



New York State should pass legislation to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 so that youth who are charged with a crime are treated in more age appropriate manner.


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