OGDEN -- A new program will help provide education and job training for high school dropouts.
Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College received a $1.1 million grant Wednesday from the Department of Labor to begin a YouthBuild program in Ogden.
The grant helps low- income men and women between the ages of 16 and 24 complete their high school diploma and then complete the college's construction program.
Additionally, participants will use their skills to improve housing for homeless families and veterans.
"We're excited about YouthBuild," said OWATC Development Director Karen Thurber.
The college had been studying the program for a while and found that it was the right time to apply, she said.
Thurber said YouthBuild will work well with the school's construction certification program.
"When we look at YouthBuild and our construction program," Thurber said, "we find it was a match made in heaven."
The college's program was one of 31 in 20 states selected for $30.6 million in funding. According to OWATC, there are now 273 YouthBuild programs in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands that have served about 92,000 people since 1994.
The program in Ogden will help up to 73 people in a three-year period, split into two groups. Each session lasts about nine months, but the program continues to follow the participants for another year to help them succeed.
Each participant will receive a $425 monthly stipend and can earn an additional $650 in bonuses for meeting certain goals during the program.
"We are, from Day One, helping them envision their future -- where they want to go," Thurber said.
In addition to the grant from the Department of Education, the school received about $407,000 in cash and in-kind donations, including funds from the Department of Workforce Services and $10,000 from American Express for materials.
Cornerstone Financial will provide financial education and individual financial counseling for the participants.
Home Depot and the Wadman Corporation will provide technical assistance and additional classroom training.
The applied technology college will donate facilities and instructors, along with applying $7,000 toward a van.
"We've leveraged about 40 percent over and above what the government has given us," Thurber said.
To meet the participants' educational needs, two teachers from Ogden School District will teach classes four mornings a week.
As part of the program, participants will rehabilitate up to 28 units of transitional housing for families and veterans for Your Community Connection of Northern Utah and the Homeless Veterans Fellowship.
More than 15 local community and faith-based organizations have pledged to help with recruiting participants and to provide ongoing support during the program.
Recruitment starts this spring, with classes for the first group beginning in late summer.