CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that the Housing Authority of Champaign County was among the nearly 70 recipients of its YouthBuild grants for 2022. HACC was awarded $1.5 million.

YouthBuild is a USDL-funded, nonresidential, community-based alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth between the ages 16 and 24. This includes youths who have dropped out of high-school, are aging out of the foster care system, who have disabilities are homeless or who have been through the justice system.

The HACC operates a local YouthBuild chapter, with students spending time on job sites, learning the construction trade with hands-on experience. This creates housing for low-income families while giving students marketable job skills.

“The YouthBuild program has become a staple in the Champaign County community,” said Executive Director Lily Walton. “We have helped so many young people achieve their goals and dreams, and this grant award will ensure that the program helps an additional 84 youth transition into careers or higher education.”