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Yuba County Office of Education - YouthBuild

The Yuba County Office of Education (YCOE) YouthBuild program has recently received funding through the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency for its fifth year of operation. YouthBuild is a national program that provides an educational opportunity for men and women 18 through 24 years of age to complete their high school education or GED while learning the construction trade. Students enroll in a yearlong program that combines half a day of classroom work with half a day of hands-on construction training. Candidates must meet the definition of low income and are eligible to receive a learning stipend equivalent to 20 hours at minimum wage per week as well as performance bonuses.

About 20 students complete the program each year which includes graduating with either a high school diploma, a GED or both. After completing the program, most students are able to find employment making at least $15/hour, which is a livable wage in the area serviced by the Yuba County Office of Education.

The YCOE YouthBuild program draws students who often have criminal records, drug and alcohol problems, as well as learning difficulties. Many of our students already have dependent children. Students are subject to unscheduled drug testing and, if found to be "dirty", are not allowed on the construction site until proven clean. To remain in the program, such students must submit to an evaluation by a local drug treatment program with which we partner. The student must abide by the treatment program's recommendations which may include residential treatment.

Training in character, behavior modification and leadership are essential elements of any successful YouthBuild program. Much of the discipline is handled by student councils. Development of a team identity and a feeling of family are often the factors that make the difference for our students.
The national YouthBuild organization has many of the characteristics of a grass roots organization. It provides training for local program staff and student leaders, curriculum materials and operational guidelines. YCOE YouthBuild staff participate in annual national conferences and have established ties with other YouthBuild programs in the state.

The program is funded via federal grants and in-kind donations. The YCOE YouthBuild program counts over 50 different entities among its partners including private industry, especially in the construction and real estate fields, and a number of public agencies.

Our YouthBuild program has helped revitalize an area in Marysville, CA, with the construction of six single-family homes all of which have been sold to qualified low income buyers. The students have also built a commercial office/warehouse building and are in process of a major school building remodel for the YCOE. Of course, the biggest success comes in the lives of the young people whose lives have been turned around through the program.

Yuba County Office of Education - YouthBuild Web site External link opens in new window or tab.

Success Stories