The City of Long Beach has been awarded a $2 million grant aimed at empowering young adults who have been disconnected from school and the workforce. Long Beach was one of only four cities nationwide, and the only city on the West Coast, to participate in this pilot program. The State Employment Development Department provided the City the funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“I want to thank Secretary Perez and the Department of Labor for investing in Long Beach and our efforts to create meaningful pathways to careers for all of our youth,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This $2 million grant will provide critically needed career training, industry credentials, support and experience to ensure that youth are prepared to succeed in the workplace and life.”
The unemployment rate for young adults in Long Beach is 20.7 percent, higher than the national rate of 9.9 percent. This innovative pilot program will connect 300 Long Beach youth, ages 18-26, with a variety of opportunities in leadership development, civic engagement, work readiness and occupational training, and ultimately employment in one of the City’s thriving job sectors.
“I am really pleased to see that the City of Long Beach has been awarded this very significant grant from the U.S Department of Labor,” said Congressman Alan Lowenthal. “This demonstration project will serve the most vulnerable city’s youth by connecting them to training and employment in sectors such as healthcare, goods movement and information technology.”
Empowering young adults who have been disconnected from school and the workforce is essential to growing the Long Beach workforce. Mayor Garcia has committed to direct investing his time and energy into this pilot program. Mayor Garcia will meet regularly with groups of participants, many who are working to overcome educational and employment barriers, to champion their progress and facilitate connections to Long Beach business leaders.
The pilot program is part of the City’s focus on youth development, which includes the Long Beach Promise, a national model for seamless education from elementary school through college, and the Long Beach Internship Challenge, a recently launched campaign to connect thousands of students with meaningful work experience. The pilot program was developed in partnership with the regional workforce development board, Pacific Gateway, which will provide participants with supportive services, career guidance, and assistance in finding quality employment.
Pilot programs developed under this award will be evaluated for possible replication in other parts of the United States.