YouthBuild Illinois programs enroll youth aged 16 to 24 who have dropped out of school and are unemployed and/or have limited job skills. YouthBuild Illinois is a rigorous, year-long program that prepares youth and young adults for the challenges they
will face in today's world. The program offers young people an opportunity to build their futures and their communities through education, leadership development, and job training while building and rehabilitating affordable housing.
YouthBuild Illinois strives to empower struggling youth and young adults by focusing on achieving academic goals while also helping them develop job skills necessary to build homes for low-income families.
YouthBuild Illinois programs are administered by local communities. There is no single model that can be applied to every YouthBuild Illinois program. Although each program is unique in its approach to addressing the needs of the community, all
operate with the same basic expectations:
- youth benefit from the opportunity to join and function in a community;
- classroom education is a vital element;
- youth learn life skills such as the ability to work as a team, maintain a job, manage money and communicate effectively with one another; and
- youth are mentored as they as they mature by adults in the program
In Fiscal Year 2008, IDHS provided grants totaling $270,626 to four YouthBuild Illinois programs serving Bloomington, East St Louis, Rockford and Waukegan.
The four programs are:
- Comprehensive Community Solutions Inc. (Rockford) $73,542;
- Emmerson Park Development Corporation (East St Louis) $73,542;
- YouthBuild McLean (Bloomington) $73,542; and
- Youth Conservation Corps, Inc. (Waukegan) $50,000.
The State of Illinois does not have a YouthBuild Appropriation line item, however, the Secretary of Illinois Department Human Services was given grant-making authority with the enactment of the YouthBuild Act in 1997. Therefore, over the past 10
years, funds have been allocated to the YouthBuild Illinois program from other IDHS Youth Services Appropriation lines.