YouthBuild Rockford receives $1.1M federal grant

May 17, 2011

By Jim Hagerty
Online Editor

Just a week after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Comprehensive Community Solutions (CCS), the nonprofit parent of YouthBuild Rockford, was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The grant is part of a $75.8 million pool awarded to 76 YouthBuild chapters in 36 states.

“We are delighted to receive the funding we need to continue helping low-income youth succeed,” said Kerry Knodle, Executive Director of CCS. “At the same time, it’s a very troubling day, knowing that so many other excellent YouthBuild programs across the country may be forced to close their doors as a result of federal funding cutbacks.”

Because of budget constraints, YouthBuild is forced to turn away more than 14,000 of its annual 22,000 applicants across the country, Knodle said.

Last Wednesday, May 11, CCS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Carpenters’ Union Local 792 filed an assets discovery citation against the agency, temporarily freezing its assets. The union filed the citation in an attempt to collect a $48,000 judgment it won in a 2010 labor dispute. The agency  was also ordered to pay the Illinois Department of Labor $35,000 in that case.

The new grant will allow YouthBuild Rockford to continue its work for at least the next two years.

YouthBuild Rockford is a highly regarded program providing low-income young people–ages 16 to 28– opportunities to become productive, self-supporting adults. It offers construction training while students build a single-family home, peer counseling, job placement and other vocational preparation.

In the last 15 years, the Rockford chapter has enrolled more than 850 students, many of whom have gone onto college, secured sustainable employment, and moved into community leadership positions.

In 273 urban and rural communities, YouthBuild engages 8,000 students each year. Since 1994, 100,000 team members have built more than 20,000 affordable homes.

Once overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing, YouthBuild was transferred by Congress to the U.S. Department of Labor in 2006.

More information about YouthBuild Rockford is at youthbuildrockford.org.

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