Most YouthBuild programs across the globe provide young people the opportunity to learn construction skills while building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in their communities. These homes are increasingly being built with green materials and principles. While at the program, YouthBuild students may earn industry-recognized construction certifications. These certifications coupled with high school credentials position students more strongly for labor market placements than a high school credential alone. Many YouthBuild graduates establish successful careers in construction-related and green industries. Employers and union officials are anticipating a two million person shortage of construction workers in the coming decade in the USA; and internationally there is anticipated enormous need for workers to build needed infrastructure.
Internationally, applied technical skills training is combined with job-readiness training to prepare young people for jobs and self-employment. These training elements are demand driven and align with opportunities for youth livelihoods in the local market place. This program element enables young people to acquire basic skills for employment and links graduates to existing public and private systems that provide advanced training. The training unfolds on fully operational work sites where teams of young people build permanent community assets, such as housing, community centers, orphanages, playgrounds, and an array of green infrastructure projects.
In addition, YouthBuild students in the United States have opportunities for training in high-demand career pathways in the healthcare, technology, and customer service fields, also earning appropriate industry-recognized certifications. YouthBuild programs build partnerships with local employers, colleges, and other postsecondary institutions including registered apprenticeships to map labor market needs and prepare young people for middle-skill jobs in high-demand industry sectors available within the region. YouthBuild USA creates national partnerships with employers who assist in creating training tracks that will meet their needs. For example, in partnership with Starbucks we have created a customer service training program that yields college credits and is available at approximately 40 local YouthBuild programs. Funded by Walmart, we created a health care track that was piloted in several sites and then accepted by the US Department of Labor.
My Best Bets Online Career Platform
With initial support from the Noyce Foundation, YouthBuild USA and Jobs for the Future are developing an online platform for low-income students to seek information on careers. With the guidance of an individual coach, YouthBuild students will use this platform to develop their personal plans to pursue appropriate postsecondary education and obtain the necessary credentials to pursue their chosen career, particularly STEM career pathways. In 2015, My Best Bets will be piloted with 500 students in four cities that are participating in YouthBuild, local high schools, high school equivalency programs, and community colleges.