Matzie: More than $1 million to help Beaver County youth transition from justice system to workforce

AMBRIDGE, Dec. 20 – Area youth will have a better chance to successfully transition from the justice system to the workplace, thanks to two grants from the state Department of Labor and Industry totaling about $1.03 million, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today.

“Securing this funding means a brand-new chance for area youth who ended up incarcerated or involved in the criminal justice system,” Matzie said. “The programs funded will provide these young people with education, vocational training, mentoring and other resources they need to move into productive jobs and rejoin the community. When that happens, we all benefit because it saves taxpayer dollars and boosts the local economy.

“An investment like this also sends the message to these youth that their past does not have to determine their future and that it is not too late for a fresh start in life.”

Matzie said the following grants will go for these projects:

  • Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board – A $500,000 grant to the Youth Reentry Cooperative Network for a program that will provide post-secondary education, soft-skills training, and advanced training for justice system youth ages 18-24 from Beaver, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

  • Three Rivers Workforce Development Board – A $527,464 grant to create a partnership between Partner4Work, Allegheny County DHS, Auberle, Allegheny County Jail Collaborative and local programs targeted at foster care young adults. The program will provide young adults with justice system involvement opportunities for targeted workforce training programs tied directly to employers.

The grants are part of a package of $5.8 million in Youth Reentry Demonstration Project grants to 10 local workforce development boards statewide. Among other things, the programs funded blend academic and job training, support mentorships and connect youth to area employers in high-priority jobs.