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Gillibrand Led Bipartisan Push for YouthBuild Funding to Help At-Risk Youth Develop Skills and Knowledge to Get Jobs

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that just passed into law today includes $89,534,000 for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) YouthBuild Program. YouthBuild is a pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth from ages 16 to 24 develop skills and knowledge to gain industry-recognized job credentials, apprenticeships, and employment. There are currently 20 YouthBuild programs located throughout New York State that are eligible for funding. Funding is also available to community-based organizations that follow the YouthBuild model.

“YouthBuild is a nationally recognized pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth earn their GED, accrue real construction-related job experience and make a better life for themselves,” said Senator Schumer“I am proud we secured this vital funding for YouthBuild and look forward to hearing about its many successes across New York State.”

“YouthBuild has a proven track record of preparing at-risk youth throughout New York State with the skills necessary to get good jobs,” said Senator Gillibrand. “With this federal investment, YouthBuild will be able to continue creating opportunities for students as they prepare to enter the workforce. I was proud to lead the bipartisan push in the Senate to include this funding in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, and I will continue to fight to make sure that New Yorkers can get the training necessary to access the jobs they want.”

YouthBuild is a pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, earn industry-recognized certifications for in-demand jobs, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities. YouthBuild began 40 years ago in East Harlem, and since then, the program has grown into a network of approximately 260 locations nationwide and 147 active urban and rural YouthBuild grants. YouthBuild has supported over 180,000 young people across 45 states since federal funding for the program began in 1992, and the YouthBuild model has spread around the world to another 22 countries with nearly 100 more local programs.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought to secure funding for YouthBuild. In April, Senator Gillibrand led a bipartisan push with 45 of her colleagues requesting funds for YouthBuild during Fiscal Year 2019. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million youth in the United States who are disconnected, low-income, and without a high school diploma. Funding for DOL’s YouthBuild Program would help more disconnected youth benefit from these critical job training and educational services. 

Below are current YouthBuild Programs in New York State:


YouthBuild Programs




Buffalo Urban League

The Service Collaborative of WNY: Western New York Youthbuild



Capital Region


Youthbuild Albany (Albany)

CEO YouthBuild (Troy)

YouthBuild Schenectady (Schenectady)



Hudson Valley


Ulster YMCA YouthBuild Partnership (Kingston)

New Directions YouthBuild Partnership (Poughkeepsie)

Westchester YouthBuild (Mt. Vernon)



Long Island



YouthBuild Long Island



New York City


D.R.E.A.M.S YouthBuild  

Staten Island YouthBuild  

Youth Action YouthBuild  

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp. YouthBuild

YouthBuild SOBRO  

New Settlement YouthBuild

YouthBuild Harlem





Catholic Family Center YouthBuild

YouthBuild Rochester






Mohawk Valley YouthBuild

YouthBuild Utica


The full text of Gillibrand’s letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable Roy Blunt


Subcommittee on Labor, Health and

Human Services, Education, and

Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and

Human Services, Education, and

Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray,

We write to express our support for the U.S. Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. We respectfully request that you provide sufficient funding for this important program.

Our nation’s ability to reconnect unemployed and undereducated young adults is essential to our economic success. YouthBuild programs engage disadvantaged, low-income youth in a holistic, full-time program with equal emphasis on education and hands-on, productive job training, coupled with personal counseling and mentoring, leadership development, and opportunities to serve the community. 

Young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who left high school without a diploma, apply and enroll in YouthBuild for an average of ten months. The program includes an equal division between helping them earn their high school diploma or equivalent and teaching job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in their communities. In addition to construction, some young people train for jobs in other growing sectors, such as healthcare, technology, and customer service.

Since YouthBuild began as a federal program in 1992, over 160,000 students in 44 states have built more than 35,000 units of affordable housing in low-income communities and performed more than 49.5 million hours of community service. The U.S. Department of Labor manages this program with heavy focus on performance, providing ample evidence that YouthBuild works. Moreover, local programs are required to raise a 25 percent non-federal match, leveraging private funds to maximize impact. 

Currently, there are 147 national grantees operating YouthBuild programs, but there are three times more applicants than capacity, indicating the significant need for additional federal support for this critical program. Nationwide, there are at least 5.6 million 16 to 24 year olds who are neither in school nor employed, half of whom are from low-income communities. Every year, hundreds of thousands of young people leave high school without a diploma. We strongly believe that adequate funding for YouthBuild is an effective, strategic investment in putting these disconnected youth on a path to success while building an educated, connected, and skilled workforce.

We hope that the Committee will provide sufficient funding for the Department of Labor YouthBuild program. As always, we appreciate your consideration of our request, and thank you for your previous support of YouthBuild’s work and mission.