New program to help Lewiston youth offenders find work

Posted June 22, 2012, at 9:59 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — A $1.4 million federal grant will fund a program to help young people with criminal histories and no high school education find work.

“We’re hoping to reduce unemployment in the area and really fulfill our mission of giving people a second chance,” said Michelle Smith, communications manager for Goodwill Industries of Northern New England.

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins jointly announced the U.S. Department of Labor grant Thursday. The grant awarded $30 million to 21 groups across the country.

Goodwill’s new program, called Take Two, will serve 90 young men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 who’ve been involved in the juvenile justice system. For 32 hours a week, students will take classes toward earning GEDs and certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research, credentials that can help land a job in construction, Smith said.

They also will take part in hands-on community projects. Participants will earn living allowances for their time.

Goodwill saw a need in the Lewiston area when it applied for the grant, Smith said.

Take Two will recruit students over the summer for its first class this fall. The commitment is a little less than a year. People can apply, and Goodwill will accept referrals from probation officers at the state’s two youth centers.

For more information, go to goodwillnne.org or 795-6820.

© 2012 the Sun Journal

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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