YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are high school dropouts, adjudicated youth, youth aging out of foster care, youth with disabilities, homeless youth, and other disconnected youth populations.
The YouthBuild program simultaneously
addresses several core issues important to low-income communities:
affordable housing, education, employment, leadership development, and energy efficiency.
The YouthBuild model balances project-based academic learning and occupational skills training to prepare disadvantaged youth for career placement.
The academic component assists youth who are often significantly behind in basic skill development to obtain a high school diploma or state high school equivalency credential.
The occupational skills training component prepares at-risk youth to gain placement into career pathways and/or further education or training, and also supports the goal of increasing affordable housing within communities by teaching youth construction skills learned by building or significantly renovating homes for sale or rent to low-income families or transitional housing for homeless families or individuals.
Additionally, grantees that have been previously funded by the Department may include occupational skills training in other in-demand industries in addition to construction skills training.
This expansion into additional in-demand industries is the “Construction Plus” component.
Additionally, through WIOA, YouthBuild programs are now required partners of the One-Stop Career Centers.
All YouthBuild programs must adhere to the requirements of being a One-Stop partner.
Partnering with One-Stop Career Centers provides an opportunity for YouthBuild grantees to increase the number of eligible applicants, have greater access to local employers, and develop the ability to directly access information regarding changes to local workforce needs and respond with program changes accordingly.