The City of Long Beach was awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide career training for 250 at-risk youth through the city’s Promising Adults, Tomorrow’s Hope (PATH) youth diversion program, city officials announced today.
“It is imperative that we do all we can to make sure our youth are trained and able to find work,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement.
The city was one of only five organizations nationwide to receive the Pathways to Justice Careers grant, according to a release from the city.
The funding will allow youth ages 16 to 24 at risk of dropping out of high school or becoming involved in the criminal justice system, to be exposed to careers in justice and emergency services and receive mentoring by peers, professionals, employers and school staff.
“This funding is significant as it is one of the final grants to be awarded under President Obama's Administration,” stated Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, whose office launched PATH in March 2016 in collaboration with the City Prosecutor’s Office and Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.
PATH allows youth who have committed a minor offense to choose from occupational training, life skills and development, mentoring, job placement and post-secondary education or criminal prosecution, according to Richardson.
Under PATH, the prosecutor’s office screens every case involving offenders ages 18 to 24 to see if the program can be offered in lieu of prosecution, jail or fines, according to City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, with the ultimate goal being offenders learn from their mistakes and come out of the process with better employment opportunities.
"The PATH diversion program has received national attention because of its innovation, Haubert said in an email. “It is one of the most complicated diversion programs in the country because it requires an individualized assessment of each offender. I cannot thank our partner, Pacific Gateway, for working with us on this first pilot year, enough. We also enjoy the full support of the City Council, especially Councilman Rex Richardson, who was a catalyst for the idea, but everyone on the Council has been behind the idea from the onset. I'm not sure any city could pull this off in such a short time, but Long Beach, again, shows it is a leader."