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Tomorrow's Youth Today Program Receives $610,000 Grant from Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board

by jtan
Tue, Aug 26th 2014 09:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 25, 2014 - Catholic Charities Education and Workforce Development Department has received a one-year $610,000 grant from the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (WIB) to support its Tomorrow's Youth Today (TYT) Program, which helps Erie County residents obtain their High School Equivalency certificate and gain employment skills free of cost. 

Erie County WIB, which has supported  Catholic Charities' workforce programming  since the agency began offering it in 1975,  works to bring together representatives from  business, labor, community-based  organizations, education, human services,  economic development and other critical  groups to rethink and restructure the way  local workforce development services are  planned and delivered. 

The grant helps TYT to provide education,  High School Equivalency test preparation  and job readiness services to Erie County  residents ages 16 to 21. After receiving an  educational/career assessment, students  attend high school equivalency classes and  a counselor works with each student on job  readiness skills and leadership training. In addition, the counselor helps students determine and work through their next steps, such as college placement.  
TYT will partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County, Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), Maryvale Community Education and Queen City Farm to engage in service sharing, including mentoring, occupational skill learning and job placement.

"We are pleased to continue our long standing relationship with Catholic Charities and their program partners, and are excited by the array of services this collaboration provides to address the various needs of out-of-school youth in our local community," said Heather Okoro, executive director of the Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

Darrell Slisz, coordinator of the Education and Workforce Development Department, outlined how the funding will benefit youth working toward a brighter future. 

"Our goal is to help students realize their potential through education," said Slisz, coordinator of the Education and Workforce Development Department. "With significant support like this, we can continue to motivate youth who may be frustrated about their future, give them tools they need to succeed and watch them grow. For example, we helped a young mother obtain her high school equivalency diploma and find a job to support her family. She has already earned three promotions, and now she plans to start college in the Fall."

The WIB grant is currently funded through the federal Workforce Investment Act.

In 2013, a total of 65 students earned their High School Equivalency, 20 students entered post-secondary education and 60 individuals were placed in jobs through the workforce department's efforts.

Classes are offered in Buffalo at the Workforce Development office, 170 Kerns Ave.; Catholic Charities 525 Washington St. location; the Abley Center, 24 Ludington St.; Seneca Babcock Community Center, 1168 Seneca St., and in Lackawanna at Catholic Charities Food Pantry and Outreach, 75 Caldwell St., and the Lackawanna Library on Ridge Road. 

For more information about these services, call 716-893-3500 or visit and search: Education and Workforce Development.

Catholic Charities served nearly 138,000 people in need in Western New York in 2013. For 90 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York. For the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities has attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service by the Council of Accreditation.