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Grant to offer at-risk youth alternative to gangs

POSTED May 14, 2010 10:46 p.m.

 The efforts to curb gang violence and induction in the state received a boost Thursday with the expansion of grant funds for the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Initiative.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the state will be making $6 million in new grants available to expand education, job training and placement programs for at-risk youths, as part of the CalGRIP program.

“These grants will offer at-risk youth throughout California a chance to turn their backs on a life of crime and become contributing members of their communities,” Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. “This investment will help young Californians develop the life-long skills needed to succeed and not get caught up in gangs and violence.”

Through the CalGRIP initiative, the Economic Development Department is soliciting grant proposals for programs and efforts that emphasize prevention and intervention strategies. Specifically, the EDD is seeking proposals that place at-risk youth into part-time employment in after-school programs, while providing post-secondary education that will lead to teaching, community and social service positions, such as licensed social worker, youth worker or counselor.

Proposed strategies should be comprehensive and community focused, providing a holistic approach to serving youth. Proposals will be accepted from public, private non-profit, and private for-profit organizations through June 14, and should target youth 14 to 24 years of age who are at risk of joining gangs or are already gang members.

The funding for the grants comes from the governor’s 15 percent Discretionary Workforce Investment Act, which is under the EDD’s administrative authority.

“The ideal way to end gang violence is to prevent it before it happens. These job training grants will accomplish precisely that,” said Paul Seave, director of the Governor's Gang and Youth Violence Policy Office.

The CalGRIP initiative began in 2007. It combines funding from different programs and directs it towards local anti-gang efforts focused on intervention, suppression and prevention. Since CalGRIP started in 2007, grants totaling more than $14 million have been awarded to provide job training and education programs targeting youth who are seeking to leave gangs or are at risk of joining them.

For more information or to apply for this grant opportunity please visit the EDD Web site at www.edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/Funding_Opportunities.htm.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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