BENTON HARBOR — Benton Harbor’s YouthBuild program, offered through Kinexus, recently received an almost $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“This is good news for the Benton Harbor’s YouthBuild program,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said in a news release. “This program – the oldest of its kind in Michigan – provides our students with the real world skills to succeed in today’s economy and specifically, right here at home in Southwest Michigan. Benton Harbor’s program has an incredible record of success over the last eight years, and this grant will ensure the good work continues.”

Kinexus Vice President Al Pscholka said in a different news release that students in the program completed rebuilding a home on Pearl Street last year and plan to rebuild more over the next three years thanks to the $989,508 grant. In addition, the program is rehabbing a downtown Benton Harbor building as a new headquarters for construction trades training.

“Construction trades workers are in high demand in Southwest Michigan and this program is a way to rebuild that talent pipeline,” he stated. “We’re looking forward to utilizing these funds over the next three years to do that.”

The program has recently added as community partners the St. Joe/Benton Harbor Rotary Club, the Berrien Community Foundation and private donors.

YouthBuild helps at-risk youth between the ages of 16 to 24 attain vocational training and job skills through group instruction and hands-on experience. Training ranges from manufacturing to nursing.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $85 million in grants to 81 YouthBuild programs in 32 states. There are more than 200 urban and rural YouthBuild programs in 46 states. More information can be found at www.doleta.gov/youth_services/youthbuild.cfm.