The U.S. Department of Labor announced this week it will be send $7.5 million in Reentry Project grants to the Sunshine State.
The grants will go to programs helping former criminals who have been imprisoned and are now reentering society and the workforce, including grants for former prisoners between the ages of 18-24 who have not graduated from high school.
The Labor Department will send $4.5 million to AMIkids Inc. in Tampa to help young adults in Pensacola, Miami-Dade, Pinellas and Lee Counties. Gang Alternative Inc. in Miami is getting $3 million to help adults in Miami and young adults in Fort Lauderdale reenter society.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., helped secure these funds when he sat on the U.S Senate Appropriations Committee last year. He weighed in on the funds on Wednesday.
“I’m pleased to see that funds I secured on behalf of Florida as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee are going to assist several organizations to uplift our Florida communities,” Rubio said.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., noted that AMIKids has helped around 135,000 young people leave the juvenile system and reenter society in nine states. He also showcased AMIKids Pinellas Center for Personal Growth in Pinellas Park which has helped more than 5,000 students through its Day Treatment program which was founded back in 1972.
“Everyone deserves a second chance - especially our children,” Crist said on Wednesday. “This $4.5 million grant will allow our community to help bridge the gap for troubled youth, connecting them to the support and mentorship opportunities they need to rebound and ultimately thrive.
"AMIKids is a terrific resource for children and families throughout the Tampa Bay area, providing crucial interventions to break children out of harmful patterns and environments. I am grateful to see our government investing in change-makers like AMIKids, who are dedicated to moving our youth towards a brighter future," Crist added.