Baucus, Tester announce nearly $1.4 million headed to teen building program

Senators Say Funding will Benefit At-Risk Teens and Help Low-Income Families

(Washington D.C.) – The YouthBuild programs on the Blackfeet and Rocky Boy Indian Reservations and in Havre, Montana will get a huge boost, thanks to $1,385,625 in grants Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

The grants will be awarded to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council and the Montana State University-Northern College of Technical Science to fund YouthBuild programs.

“This funding is great news for Montana,” said Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. “The YouthBuild program teaches teens valuable job skills and empowers them to help low-income families with their hard work.”

“I’m very pleased students will have this great learning opportunity and make a real difference for families in need,” said Tester, a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee. “When we invest in our young people, we are building strong communities and laying the foundation for the economic future for our state.”

YouthBuild provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk teens while they work on constructing affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods.

The program will enroll 60 youth in the Southern Pikanii Lodge Builders Project on the Blackfeet Reservation and partners with the Blackfeet Manpower program.  The 80 teens enrolled in the North Central Montana YouthBuild Construction Trades Program will learn about green technology as they build energy efficient modular homes that will then be moved to the Reservation after the school year ends. 

The students will split their time between the construction site and the classroom, while they earn their GED, high school diploma, or college credits.  Participants learn to be community leaders and prepare for college and other postsecondary training opportunities. YouthBuild includes mentoring support systems and follow-up education, employment, and personal counseling services.

The grants will be issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.