BELOIT

Community Action will receive a $1.1 million federal grant to fund a program that helps disadvantaged youth get an education and job skills, setting them on a path to self-sufficiency.

The Beloit-based Fresh Start program has been operating for six months without funding because the federal grants were delayed, program manager William Chatman said.

Community support, including from the Beloit School District and Blackhawk Technical College, has kept the program going, he said.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced the grant award from the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program. Baldwin said she had worked in the Senate to secure the funding.

The program served 34 young people, ages 16 to 24, this past year, Chatman said. Participants are all high school dropouts or on the verge of dropping out.

The YouthBuild program helps increase graduation rates, rewards hard work and invests in the dignity of work, Baldwin said in the news release.

The funding starts later this month and covers two years of operations and a year of follow-up support to graduates, Chatman said.

Chatman thanked Baldwin for her long-term support of the Beloit-based program.

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