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Two St. Louis business groups give nearly $1 million for youth job training

Members of the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress present a $900,000 check to provide job training opportunities for youth programs. The investment aims at improving public safety.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will provide $900,000 dollars to several local organizations in an attempt to bolster public safety.

The announcement made Wednesday aims at increasing job training opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Louis. 

Five organizations will receive investments, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation and the North Side Community School. Each organization has programs aimed at young people for job training or education.

  • $250,000 to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Save Our Sons, Federation of Block Units Neighborhood Crime Prevention, Police-Community Mediation
  • $285,000 to Better Family Life, Inc., Neighborhood Alliance and other programs
  • $225,000 to STL Youth Jobs, summer youth employment
  • $115,000 to Little Bit Foundation, wrap-around services at North Side Community School
  • $25,000 to North Side Community School, Pre-K through 5th Grade education

“These organizations have a very strong track record in terms of attracting youth and getting really good positions with them, and working with the business communities,” said Civic Progress Chair Suzanne Sitherwood.
A majority of the funding will focus on north St. Louis within the borders of Vandeventer Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Goodfellow Boulevard and West Florissant Avenue.

The grants presented by the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress are part of a collaborative effort with the Department of Public Safety and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The goal of the partnership is to reduce the amount of violent crime in the city.

“There’s a connection between violent crime and lack of opportunities,” said St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden. “When you hear about the Save Our Sons program and that we’re giving people opportunities not to have desperate situations causing them to resort to drug sales and that kind of thing, that we know are linked to violence.”

More than 400 people have already graduated from the Save Our Sons program which helps train young men and place them on jobs. Will Donlow, now a spokesman for Save Our Sons, graduated from the program himself.

“The program for Save Our Sons works. I’m a byproduct of that program. I have a job, I’m working on my credit, I moved into a home,” Donlow said. “All these things are important with educating the community.”

The funding will also be used to increase educational opportunities for at risk youth, including money to assist with elementary schools in north St. Louis.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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