Youth Build
Bureau of Youth Services & Delinquency Prevention
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description


The Youth Build program enrolls youth and young adults aged 16 to 24 who have dropped out of school, are unemployed and/or have limited job skills.


The purpose of the Youth Build program is to empower struggling teens and young adults. Youth Build focuses on academic goals while also helping youth to develop job skills by building homes for low-income families.


Youth Build is a year-long, highly demanding program that prepares youth and young adults for the challenges they will face in today's world. The program offers young people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build their futures and their communities through education, leadership development, job training, and the rehabilitation and production of affordable housing.

Delivery Method

The Youth Build program is administered by local communities. There is not one single model that can be applied to every Youth Build program. Although each Youth Build program is unique in its approach to addressing the needs of the community, all embrace the same basic principles; Youth benefit from the opportunity to join and function in a community; education comes not only from the classroom but from life skills learned from having to function as a team, maintain a job, manage money and speak effectively with one another; adults in the program mentor students as they mature; and each site's unique approach addresses the complexities within their community.

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $219.9 $214.2 $213.4 $269.1
Number of Grantees 3 3 3 4
Number Served 142 142 142 202

Program Accomplishments

  • Youth are gaining employment skills and experience.
  • Homes are being built for low income families
  • Youth are receiving a GED or equivalent.
  • Youth exiting the program are finding employment and receiving a higher wage than upon entering the program.