Parish to seek $1.1M grant to employ young people

By By John Guidroz / American Press

The Calcasieu Parish Workforce

Investment Board is applying for up to $1.1 million in federal grant

money to provide job opportunities

for up to 75 disadvantaged teens and young adults ages 16-24.

Police jurors on Thursday approved a

resolution for the board to submit the grant application to the U.S.

Department of Labor

Employment and Training Administration for the YouthBuild program.

According to a news release from the department, “$75 million

in YouthBuild grant funds” became available last month.

Stephanie Seemion, director of the Workforce Investment Board, said the program is available for those aging out of the foster

care system, the disabled, high school dropouts, or young people who are facing other hardships.

“The bottom line is to get people employed in this area, (and) this is a good opportunity to do that,” she said.

Police Juror Elizabeth Griffin said the goal is to get people “self-sufficient.”

“That’s a great opportunity and

something we need in Calcasieu Parish because we have so many young

adults who are in difficult

situations out of their control,” she said. “Some just need a

jump-start. If we have the resources, they can be an asset to

Calcasieu Parish.”

Tarek Polite, director of the parish Human Services Department, said the grant money could provide each person with just over

$14,000. The program allows young people to assist in building affordable housing, which he said will be needed because of

the anticipated “economic boom coming in the next few years.”

Juanita Poland, WIB planner/grant writer, said that both Habitat for Humanity and the Housing Authority of Lake Charles are

looking for carpenters. She said those who qualify for the program will be trained in home construction.

The Department of Labor announced last

month that they anticipate “serving more than 5,200 young people through

75 grants,

ranging from $700,000 to $1.1 million each.” The grants will be

“awarded to organizations that oversee education and employment

services for disadvantaged youth in their communities.”

The grant application will be submitted by March 19.