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What is Youthbuild

Dorothy Stoneman started the first YouthBuild program in East Harlem in 1978. Her vision was to get young people off the street and rehabilitate rundown buildings in the city. YouthBuild later received federal funding to help guide the process of replicating and scaling up the YouthBuild program throughout the United States. There are now 274 YouthBuild programs in 45 states, Washington, DC, and the Virgin Islands. One hundred thousand YouthBuild students have built 20,000 units of affordable, increasingly green, housing since 1994.

Bethany Christian Services has offered a YouthBuild program to Grand Rapids since 2011. It is designed to help teens and young adults ages 18 to 24 take the next step toward their own success.

What We Offer

GED Prep

The GED classroom environment and curriculum are developed by the onsite YouthBuild GED instructor and aided by the Kaplan GED Test Prep Guide.  GED preparation occurs four days a week with three-hour blocks of time.  Each day covers all four subjects for GED tests with 45-minute sessions (Math, Science, Social Studies, Langauage Arts).  Our GED Instructor adapts his lessons to be relevant to job training and everyday life.

Additionally, one-on-one tutoring is also available with the YouthBuild GED instructor or volunteer tutors.  GED class and tutoring are each available both virtually and in-person.

“Dave will find ways to explain stuff to you.  He will sift through things until he finds a way to help you learn it.”

Kaleb, Cohort 10

Construction Training

YouthBuild Grand Rapids uses the PACT curriculum for construction training.  PACT is an industry recognized certification in the construction trade.  Onsite for YouthBuild, PACT takes place four days a week for three hours a day with a certified PACT instructor with more than 30 years of Construction experience.  The YouthBuild Grand Rapids PACT program covers the basics of several trades but focuses in on carpentry and framing- putting what they use to work on different projects, including homes in the community.  In YouthBuild, students will gain relevant experience, safe and proper use of hand and power tools, overall life and employability skills, CPR training, OSHA certification, and more.

Case Management

The YouthBuild Grand Rapids case management services assist students in developing the skills required for success in the program and beyond. Case management provides the structure for helping students with education, employment, and training needs. Case management works with students on their personal barriers that may jeopardize the completion of the YouthBuild program or the transitioning into the workplace or secondary education and training. The case management system facilitates the achievement of the student’s educational, employment, and personal goals.

Additionally, students receive follow up services for one year after successful completion of the YouthBuild program. Follow up services include, but are not limited to employment development and placement, assistance with post-secondary education, transportation assistance, and internship/job shadow assistance.  As a part of follow up services with YouthBuild, students are asked to continue monthly contact with both case managers, provide paycheck stubs monthly and provide an education schedule.

“YouthBuild helped me change my life for the better, motivated me to do things I never thought were possible, and help me overcome obstacles that seemed too big to conquer on my own.” 

Alexis, Cohort 10

Customer Service Training

Maybe you’re not interested in construction.  Good news!  We also offer Customer Service training through the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation.  The NRF Fundamentals curriculum is an industry recognized credential taught by the YouthBuild vocational trainer.  YouthBuild Grand Rapids teaches the curriculum in the classroom for 5 weeks with 5 weeks of on the job training, followed by a paid work experience with potential job placement for those who perform well.  Three tests and a completion of an internship are required for certification. 

Stipends and Incentives

We understand that life carries on even while students are coming to our daily programming, so we cover the cost of testing and transportation (bus passes). Not only is the cost covered, but students can also earn a daily stipend and weekly perfect attendance bonuses. Students can earn additional bonuses through passing GED tests and credential attainment in the program.

Vocational/Workforce Development Training

The YouthBuild Grand Rapids vocational development training is developed and taught by the YouthBuild Vocational trainer.  This class meets every Friday during each cohort for 1.5-hour sessions.  The complete intent of the classroom session is to teach job readiness skills.  Students engage in group discussions, workplace behaviors, financial literacy, emotional development, career development, interview readiness, resume building and more.

“Tony taught the importance of punctuality and how to be an employee that a job would want to hire.”

Saveon, Cohort 10