The Rapides Foundation Awards $1.8 Million Grant to Local Organizations to Reconnect with Youth
The Rapides Foundation has awarded $1.8 million in grants to six organizations.
ABC 31 News Reporter Keisha Swafford has the story on how local organizations will connect the youth to education and job opportunities.
The Rapides Foundation awarded each grantee with $300,000 over three years.
Director of the Office of Workforce Development Sharon Neal says, “We’re going to be working together with our partners to not just help the student with education and employment but help the whole child, help service as many needs as we can with that child.”
The Rapides Parish Police Jury will use the grant to expand their outreach and services.
Neal says, “In 2020, there’s about 130,000 people, residents in our area in Rapides Parish and 19 percent of them are considered disconnected and what that means is that they don’t have their high school diploma, they haven’t worked for the past five years, or they live in high poverty areas so that’s going to be our target.”
Central Louisiana Technical Community College will train ambassadors to navigate students to online services.
Vice Chancellor of CLTCC Workforce Solutions Misty Slayter says, “The website is meant to give the public information about careers, about the many careers in the technical field but also give them opportunities to connect with training that prepares them for the workforce.”
Eckerd Connects will continue to serve the families of troubled youth.
Operations Director of Eckerd Connects Jodie Roberts says, “We also have a small juvenile justice program which helps connect those kids in the juvenile justice system to services to try to avoid detention or even them being admitted into the juvenile justice system, and we’re excited about his opportunity because it lets us expand the work that we’re doing.”
The Rapides Foundation has found 22 percent of young adults are unemployed or do not go to school.
President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation Joe Rosier says, “It’s just a huge issue that, that large of our part of our population on one hand is not contributing, but on the other hand, they’re not being able to take care of themselves or prepare for the future.”
These organizations will identify and recruit potential youth to jobs.
Reconnecting Cenla complements the Foundation’s Beyond Graduation Project, a retention strategy launched in 2021.