Funding for Opportunity Youth

Federal Funding for DOL’s YouthBuild Program

YouthBuild USA organizes the National YouthBuild Coalition of approximately 800 non-profit organizations that are united in protecting the federal authorization of the YouthBuild program and seeking expanded annual federal appropriations for the USDOL YouthBuild Program.  

Any local non-profit or public entity is eligible to apply for these funds directly to DOL in order to sponsor a YouthBuild program in its community. DOL selects its grantees based on past performance, community need, and the quality of the proposal. YouthBuild USA has no role in selecting DOL’s grantees.

Each year we mobilize the National YouthBuild Coalition and other allies to obtain maximum support within Congress for the YouthBuild appropriation.  

We advocate for expanded federal funding so that more local programs can serve more young people, in more communities across the United States. Currently, each DOL grant to a local program is in the amount of $500,000 per year for two years, plus $100,000 for nine months of follow-up support for graduates in their placements.  Grantees must re-compete every two years. DOL requires each grantee to provide a 25% non-federal match. While all local programs find additional funding streams, the primary funding source for starting and maintaining local YouthBuild programs is the USDOL YouthBuild Program .

In 2007-08, federal funding levels were sufficient to provide grants to 109 local YouthBuild programs. When the Obama Administration and Congress increased the federal appropriation to $127.5 million for FY 2010, that enabled the number of DOL funded programs to rise to 226, which opened doors to roughly 8,000 opportunity youth nationally. Cutbacks in federal appropriations for FY 2011 and thereafter to under $80 million has shrunk the number of DOL funded active programs with currently enrolled students to just 143, resulting in many program closures. With the help of champions in Congress, we have advocated to reverse this trend. In 2014 and 2015 Congress increased the appropriation by over 2% each year. Download a chart detailing the full history of the federal YouthBuild Program funding (PDF).

State and Local Funding for YouthBuild

YouthBuild USA works with state and local YouthBuild coalitions to expand funding through government support at all levels. These coalitions educate elected officials and policymakers about the benefits of the YouthBuild program in their communities, and encourage them to support funding at the state and local levels.

Currently there are seven active state coalitions across the country – California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. Five of these coalitions have been successful in obtaining state funding. For example, the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition has succeeded in obtaining a steady level of state funding for nearly 20 years, in which all 11 programs in the state receive an average of $200,000 of core funding. Similar efforts are under way at the city and county levels where there are multiple YouthBuild programs. In 2014 the New York City YouthBuild Collaborative was successful in working with the New York City Council to obtain $2.1 million in funding for the six YouthBuild Programs in the city.  

Opportunity Youth Network

YouthBuild USA serves on the advisory council of the Opportunity Youth Network (OYN), promoting its goal of reconnecting one million opportunity youth through all possible pathways to education and employment. OYN brings together government, corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit, and young adult community leaders to advocate for this goal. In 2012 YouthBuild USA contracted with Civic Enterprises to map all the federal opportunities that would, if expanded, enable one million young people to be reconnected each year. Download A Bridge to Reconnection: A Review of Federal Funding Streams Reconnecting America’s Opportunity Youth - A Plan for Reconnecting One Million Opportunity Youth Each Year.