Youth Conservation Corps, YouthBuild Waukegan

Program Name:

Youth Conservation Corps, YouthBuild Waukegan

Service Area:

Lake County

Program Description

Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) provides job training and educational opportunities for low-income youth in need of a high school diploma. Youth split their time between the construction site and the classroom, where they earn their GED or high school diploma, depending on their entry level. Leadership skills are also part of the curriculum, enabling the youth to grow into community leaders, and prepare for college and other postsecondary training opportunities. On the job site, the youth learn constructions skills while constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods. Youth are also afforded significant support systems, such as a mentoring, follow-up education, employment, personal counseling services, and participation in community service and civic engagement.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible participants are 16 to 24 year old disadvantaged youth with one or more barrier to success. These youth could be a high school dropout, economically disadvantaged, an ex-offender, aged out of foster care, a single parent, unemployed, and/or homeless.

Program Components

Education - Classroom work

Classroom Work consists of ABE skills readiness and GED preparation depending on the level of the youth. In addition, leadership development and conflict and anger management are part of the curriculum. Job-related skills include job development; construction skills course work based on the pre-apprenticeship program of union carpenters; 10 hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training and Workin' it Out on the job conflict management skills training.

Vocational - On-Site Work

On-site Work consists of rehabilitation of at least five homes and the construction of two to three new homes. Trades learned during rehabilitation include carpentry, electrical, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, dry walling, replacing doors and windows, framing, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) work. New construction skills would be inclusive of the skills listed above with the addition of getting blueprints approved, requesting permits, bidding scheduling, ordering materials, digging for foundations, concrete framework and masonry, getting new homeowners approved, and sale of structures.

YCC YouthBuild partners with Habitat for Humanity, Community Action Partnership to do rehabilitation and working on new homes.

Green Affordable Housing - On-Site Work

YCC acquired a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) home from the City of Waukegan in July of 2008. The youth participated in deconstructing the HUD home and recycled all usable construction material. Over a ton of metal and aluminum was recycled from the building and it is expected that the recycled lumber will provide approximately two-thirds of the lumber for a planned new "green," or environmentally friendly, home. This home will be the first environmentally sustainable, single family green home built as affordable housing in Waukegan. YCC will be working in conjunction with the pro bono services of Serena Sturm Architects, one of the premiere sustainable architectural firms in the Chicago area, to design the home and pursue green building certification. The YouthBuild national affiliate, YouthBuild USA, has also provided technical assistance for the project through their Green Fellows Program.

The home will be a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom single family dwelling. YCC will be working with the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County to provide homebuyer education and counseling, and help potential buyers access mortgage assistance programs and other beneficial financing opportunities. The beneficiary of this project will be a low-to-moderate income family that earns less than 80% of the area's median income. It is expected that the University of Wisconsin and Virginia will study the planning and construction of the dwelling, as well as the placement of the low-income family.

The home will be built by the youth of the program using as much recycled material as possible. It will include Energy Star appliances, Solar Water Heating, and a Heat Recovery Ventilation System. In addition, the building will be encased in a ridged insulation to reduce energy use, decks will be made of recycled plastic, and interior components such as drywall, hardwood floors, kitchen and bathroom flooring will be installed using recycled materials. Outside the home, the Chicago Botanical Garden and Green Town Waukegan Community Garden Group will assist in providing training for the future homeowners in maintaining a sustainable garden, irrigated through down spouts that divert storm water.

This exciting project will aid in teaching the youth involved in the construction the principles of recycling and energy conservation and the importance of building green wherever and whenever possible.

2008 Program Funding Sources & Partnerships

(All non-state funding amounts were self reported)

  • Federal 
    • DOL $332,000
      CNCS $80,000
  • State
    • IDHS $49,847.85
      IDOC $30,000
      IEPA $1,000
  • Local
    • County and City CDBG $6,500
      United Way $15,000
  • Other (Private/Public):
    • Foundations, Lake County Corporations, Lake County
      and Waukegan CDBG, Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund,
      Baxter, Sunrise Rotary Libertyville, Bears Care, REI,
      Dr Scholl Foundation, YouthBuild USA, Wal-Mart,
      Home Depot
  • In-Kind (Volunteers/ Partnerships):
    • City of Waukegan, Abbott Laboratories, Waukegan Gang Outreach, Lake County Forest Preserve District, Thresholds of Lake County, Uhlich Children's Advantage Network, YWCA, Waukegan Park District, College of Lake County, Illinois Dept. of Human Services, Habitat for Humanity Lake County, United Way of Lake County, Glencoe Union Church, Comcast Cable Company, Lake County Workforce Board, and Waukegan Public Schools.

2008 Cost Per Youth

Total Cost Per Youth (All Sources) $17,297
Total Cost Per Youth (IDHS Funds Only) $1,061

2008 Program Statistics

Enrolled - YouthBuild Program 47

  • 35 in first enrollment,
  • 12 in second enrollment

Demographic Information - Enrolled Participants

Males 39
Females 8
African American 20
Hispanic 22
Asian American 2
White 3
Average Age 22
Homeless Youth 2
Adjudicated Youth 30
High School Drop outs 34
Youth with Diploma/GED 2
Employed Youth 0

2008 Outcomes

Youth Successfully Completing YouthBuild Program
35 In first group 100%
Second group still in program
Homeless Youth Domiciled 100%
Employment At Program Completion
# becoming gainfully employed 24 or 68 %
Average hourly wage $9.25
# employed at 6 months 23 or 65 %
Education at Program Completion
Completed youth receiving diploma/GED 9 or 26 %
Remaining Youth working on diploma/GED 16
# enrolled in full-time post-secondary education 3 or 8 %
# in post-secondary education at 6 months 1 or 3%
Housing Units
Housing units built 2
Housing units remodeled 6
Adjudicated Students Recidivism Rate 2 or 8 %
Youth Registered to Vote 100%