To date, YouthBuild students have built over 35,000 units of affordable housing in the United States, plus uncounted community centers, playgrounds, and schools worldwide. Previously unemployed youth gain valuable work experience and skills, industry-recognized construction and green building credentials, and a sense of tremendous pride, while improving their own communities. In the United States many earn AmeriCorps Education Awards for their service provided to the community.
On YouthBuild project sites around the world, young people are building homes, schools, clinics, parks, playgrounds, water systems, and other community infrastructure as they gain work and leadership skills that are essential for personal and economic success. This process, “Community Asset Building,” is central to the YouthBuild program design. CAB facilitates youth and community transformation while catalyzing public and private sector partnerships that sustain community development outcomes. Construction activities take place in the local communities where the young people, their peers, and their families live. As a result, youth see how their individual actions can improve the world around them and local residents witness young people taking responsibility for the development of their own lives and their community. For youth going into the building trades, CAB offers work-based education (WBE) necessary for employment, and for youth focused on non-construction livelihoods it offers a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the world of work.
The CAB approach imparts clear, demand-driven technical skills, coupled with a central focus on soft skills development, including the two most valued qualities cited by employers: work ethic and team work. These projects use practical, hands-on training—experiential learning—to build both technical skills and soft skills
YouthBuild programs enable YouthBuild students to prepare for environmental leadership and to secure industry-recognized credentials with labor market value. This is made possible by YouthBuild USA’s status as an Accredited Training Sponsor for certifications from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), an affiliated Building Performance Institute (BPI) Test Center, a training partner with the Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO to deliver certification in its Multi-Core Craft Curriculum, a national partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, and a sponsor of certification training from the Home Builders Institute (HBI). YouthBuild USA trains the local construction trainers to deliver these certifications.