The Austin-based American YouthWorks organization has won a $400,000 federal grant, bringing its total in recent months to $1.1 million received, according to an announcement Wednesday from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.
The nonprofit, which provides job training and education for about 500 at-risk young people, garnered the funds from the U.S. Department of Labor and will use the money to support its Casa Verde Builders program. The long-running program trains youth, ages 16 to 26, to build energy efficient homes.
Participants in the program, which is a partnership with the city of Austin, Travis County, and the Texas Education Agency, split their time between the construction site and the classroom. Students can at the same time earn their GED or high school diploma.
“Austin YouthWorks represents the best Austin has to offer,” Doggett said. “I have crawled through the attics with their trainees and seen their pride and accomplishment. This program helps Austin youth grow and learn, while at the same time helping some of our most vulnerable neighbors. This is the kind of work that should be recognized, rewarded, and copied across the country.”
About 88 percent of participants come from low-income households.