LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) _ The Lafayette Workforce Investment Board is sending out an SOS for one of its workforce programs that targets high school dropouts.

The board has started a fundraising effort for Second Opportunity Scholarships to fund a GED and job skills training program called Keeping Youth Trained and Educated.

The program is housed on the campus of South Louisiana Community College and offers out-of-school youth ages 16 through 21 a second chance at completing their high school education while receiving job skills training and exposure to careers available in the Acadiana area.

Cortney Boutte-Breaux, a Workforce Investment Board planner, tells The Advocate ( ) federal funding cuts have impacted the program’s viability.

The Workforce Investment Board previously received about $1.2 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds for its operations, which include assistance and programs for out-of-work adults and youth; however, that funding has been cut in half to about $605,000, Boutte-Breaux said.

The youth programs’ share of the federal funding is about $176,000; however, the money isn’t only directed to KYTE but to other services offered to youth, such as GED tutoring and job training for students who are not in the KYTE program, she said.

The KYTE program takes 25 students per six-month session twice a year, and its annual operational costs are about $100,000, she said.

“We don’t have enough funds to continue the KYTE program without other sources of funding,” Boutte-Breaux said.

She said a committee formed last year to rally the Second Opportunity Scholarships effort and $6,700 was raised. The money was a good start but not enough.

“We’re trying to get employer buy-in for the program,” she said. “We’re also in need of businesses willing to mentor our students and let them know how successful they are and how they got started.”