VALE—Malheur County Court is lending its support to the Malheur County Poverty to Prosperity partnership as it seeks a federal grant targeted for programs that serve disconnected youths.

Ten grant awards will be handed out by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education, ranging from $400,000 to $700,000, Riley Hill, a member of the Poverty to Prospertiy program, said Wednesday in a presentation before the court.

Hill asked the court to submit a letter of intent to apply for one of the grants as the lead applicant, which the court agreed to do. The grant is designed to focus on individuals between the ages of 14 and 24, who are low-income, either homeless or in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, unemployed or not enrolled in school, or at risk of dropping out of school or other educational institution, he said.

The goal is help those youths meet their educational needs, obtain employment or achieve other successes, he added.

“We can leverage funds raised to demonstrate how we are currently ‘braiding’ public and private funds,” Hill said.

Malheur County Poverty to Prosperity is a grassroots program to improve the county’s economy, with its initial focus on establishing a career technical education program and eventually a career technical education center. The career technical education program is in the second year of a welding program, a cooperative effort of Treasure Valley Community College and the Ontario, Nyssa and Vale school districts, with classes held at TVCC and at Ontario High School.

An allied health program was launched this fall, with classes held at the three high schools. Plans call for automated systems to be the third career technical education program Poverty to Prosperity offers.

The career technical education program is one the five spokes in the Malheur County Poverty to Prosperity program, which is designed to help the county’s economy by helping develop a trained work force to draw additional industry and jobs to the county. Other parts of the Malheur County Wheel of Prosperity include expanding industrial lands, utilizing natural resources, retaining local resources and expanding the agricultural trade sector.

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