The YouthBuild Network

The YouthBuild program has a number of organizations that assist in its goal of empowering youth. These organizations advocate for continued financial support of program, provide technical assistance, expand the reach of YouthBuild worldwide, and accredit exception programs that adhere to rigid standards of performance. The agencies described below provide a firm backbone of support for all YouthBuild providers.

YouthBuild USA

YouthBuild USA represents and advocates for YouthBuild programs throughout the United States. Since its founding in 1990, YouthBuild USA has guided the development of the national YouthBuild network of more than 226 local programs in 44 states that act in collaboration to improve the outcomes for youth and the positive impact of the program.

YouthBuild USA provides local YouthBuild sites with national and regional trainings; on-site and telephone technical assistance; grants and loans amounting to several million dollars per year in public and private funds; quality assurance through the management of the YouthBuild USA Affiliated Network; and YouthBuild USA Extranet with resources specifically for YouthBuild programs.

YouthBuild International

The mission of YouthBuild International (YBI), a Boston-based non-governmental organization (NGO), is to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of marginalized youth to rebuild their communities as well as their lives. YouthBuild is grounded in the philosophy that given the right context-an environment filled with respect, a caring community, a positive peer group, a valued role in local communities, an opportunity to develop skills, high standards of self-discipline and performance, and the means to future education and employment-young people with troubled pasts can transform themselves into productive citizens with viable futures. It is the role of YBI to spread this philosophy through the building a global network of organizations dedicated to reaching, inspiring, preparing and connecting disadvantaged youth to viable employment opportunities in both the formal and informal economic sectors.

Through it efforts to replicate the YouthBuild model around the world, YBI provides training, technical assistance and consultation to governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, public and private sector employment systems, schools, NGOs and youth groups in the areas of youth employment training, applied basic education, youth enterprise development, leadership and citizenship, construction and community revitalization. YBI's success draws on field-tested strategies, effective partnerships, access to a broad base of public and private resources, and a development approach that is informed by the experience and perspective of young people.

YouthBuild, Inc., through its two operating divisions, YouthBuild International and YouthBuild USA, brings 30 years of experience and expertise in policy development, advocacy, research, institutional capacity building, and on-the-ground practice. YouthBuild, Inc. is the originator of the YouthBuild name and program design. According to their website, in addition to supporting a network of more than 226 independent programs in the United States, internationally, YouthBuild has been engaged with programs in South Africa, Palestinian Territories, Serbia, Mexico, Israel, Canada, Haiti, Timor Leste, Scotland, and Central America.

Working in partnership with others, their vision is to create viable, sustainable livelihoods for all young people, through training, education, employment and self-employment. This vision guides their mission to:

  • Create a global 'hand up' system, that is visible, accessible and inspiring to marginalized youth, and provides an expanding network of connections for young people to education, training, financial services, leadership development, and employment opportunities in the formal sector;
  • Create a global forum for the exchange of effective practices and for the creation of design and performance standards that are influenced by young people, program operators, public and private employers, and leadership from the financial sector;
  • Document and communicate stories of youth transformation and community impact by showcasing the voice, progress and community contributions being made by young people in YouthBuild programs around the world; and
  • Inform the practice and policy conclusions of public and private global institutions that share our commitment to address the global challenge of youth unemployment, by documenting the experience and outcomes of the global YouthBuild International network.

YouthBuild USA Affiliated Network

The YouthBuild USA Affiliated Network (AffNet) was created in 1992 to maintain the integrity of the YouthBuild program model, provide a support and learning network for YouthBuild program staff, and strengthen the YouthBuild movement's advocacy for low-income youth.

AffNet sets program design and performance standards, collects and analyzes data on YouthBuild program outcomes, and accredits outstanding programs.

All IDHS-funded YouthBuild providers are required to be members of AffNet.

In becoming an affiliate, a local YouthBuild program assumes responsibilities designed to strengthen the YouthBuild movement and protect the integrity and reputation of the YouthBuild program model. Currently, 167 YouthBuild programs have committed to uphold the YouthBuild philosophy, program design and performance standards, submit outcome data, and participate in the AffNet as the central leadership body of the YouthBuild movement. An affiliate can become an accredited affiliate by completing at least two program cycles and a comprehensive accreditation process, and demonstrating outcomes that meet or exceed YouthBuild performance standards. Accredited affiliates are considered first for grants from YouthBuild USA--in recent years accredited affiliates have received about twice the amount of pass-through dollars through YouthBuild USA than non-accredited programs have received.

National YouthBuild Coalition

The National YouthBuild Coalition seeks to persuade the United States government to fund local communities to employ and train young people to serve their neighborhoods by building affordable housing for homeless and other low-income people. There are approximately four million unemployed youth who have dropped out of school in the United States and an estimated two million homeless youth. In addition, there are uncounted properties desperately needing rehabilitation and construction. The Coalition believes that part of the solution to all three of these tragedies lies in creatively putting them together, employing the youth to repair these buildings. This, in turn, helps to slow the tide of homelessness while the youth complete their high school education and prepare for college, career, and community leadership.

The basic philosophy of the Coalition dictates that the positive energy and intelligence of youth need to be enlisted in solving the problems facing our society. Young people in poor communities want to rebuild their communities and their lives, and will do so if given the opportunity. The Coalition believes that the desire to serve, to do meaningful work, is universal. Community-based organizations need to be given the resources to solve local problems and to mobilize local people, including neighborhood youth. Leadership development is a central element of effective community development and youth service.

The Coalition was founded in June of 1988, and in that same year proposed that the U.S. Congress put $200 million into appropriations designated for the purpose of youth employment and training in building housing for the homeless and other low-income individuals. Since the, federal legislation has been passed to fund various YouthBuild programs, with appropriations for fiscal years 1993 through 2006 totaling $755 million. The program was administered initially by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and now by the Department of Labor (DOL.). Legislation has also been passed which includes YouthBuild as an eligible program for funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In addition to the above accomplishments, the National YouthBuild Coalition, which is organized by YouthBuild USA, has generated State YouthBuild Coalitions in Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and California. These coalitions, which focus on obtaining state funding, are led by directors of local YouthBuild programs in cooperation with YouthBuild USA.

Illinois YouthBuild Coalition

The Illinois YouthBuild Coalition (IYC) advocates for increased resources, programs, public and private involvement, and public recognition of the need for concerted efforts directed toward expanding employment opportunities for poor, disadvantaged, and minority youth in Illinois. It also seeks to assist and fund local communities to employ and train youth to serve their neighborhoods by building affordable housing for homeless and other low-income people.

IYC represents all (current and former) state and federally funded YouthBuild-affiliated programs in Illinois. IYC is a voluntary organization and offers its members access to information about membership in the National YouthBuild Coalition; opportunities for training and technical assistance; YouthBuild publications; and material and advocacy for issues facing youth in Illinois.

The nine individual program affiliates currently involved with the IYC are located in Rockford, Bloomington, East St. Louis, Waukegan, Aurora, Lake County, Rock Island, Mt. Vernon and Chicago.