Many young people who break the law as juveniles can wind up in jail as adults, but a local program is trying to change that by training them for jobs, and giving them support they need to get those jobs.
The program is getting one million dollars from the U.S. Department of Labor to do it.
The Pima Prevention Partnership (PPP) human service agency says it will take that money and do something that has not been done before.
It says it's taking several proven programs and combining them to try to give at-risk youth a fighting chance at a good job and a better life.
The agency already works with at-risk youth.
The new program will enroll 138 young people from Pima County, ages 16 to 24.
They are, or were at one time, involved in the juvenile justice system, but cannot have been convicted of a sex-related crime.
PPP says the only exception is prostitution.
PPP says they often are teens and young adults who have had serious struggles in life.
In some cases, they were victims of abuse.
Besides providing job and skills training, tutoring, mentoring and access to therapy, along with follow-up services, the program is expected to have very long-term positive effects.
"By giving young people access to, not only job skills training, but also treatment services that specifically address some of those traumas, it really impacts their ability to break that cycle and become more productive and not continue the cycle with their own children. And so it does create some great opportunities there, healing families and generations," says Pima Prevention Partnership Clinical Director Charlie Alcaraz.
Alcaraz says Pima County OneStop is PPP's partner in this training program.
Only 28 communities across the country won the labor department grants that total $26 million.
This is a pilot project.
Alcaraz says they will begin accepting participants in a few months.
He says the Tucson number to call for more information is 624-5806.
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