WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the YouthBuild for the Future Act to reauthorize the YouthBuild program, a national program that equips opportunity youth – people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and work opportunities – to education, employment, and leadership skills.

YouthBuild services more than 5,000 opportunity youth in more than 40 states, including Connecticut. Participants often left school without a diploma and are homeless, foster care youth, migrants, disabled, or an offender.

“Each year, YouthBuild helps thousands of youth earn their high school diploma while learning skills in trades like construction, healthcare, information technology, and logistics,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05). “The YouthBuild for the Future Act improves and invests in the job training program to allow more disadvantaged, rural, and low-income youth in the Fifth to confidently join the workforce and have successful futures.”  

“Young people are left to carry the weight of generational and systemic failures,” said Senator Markey (D-MA). “YouthBuild helps lift those burdens by investing in young people’s potential and offering them the resources, opportunities, and support to succeed. The investment works: YouthBuild has allowed thousands of young people in Massachusetts and around the country to access life-changing education and workforce development training while serving their communities. Just as YouthBuild champions young people’s potential, Congress must champion YouthBuild.”

Specifically, the YouthBuild for the Future Act will:

  • Reserve grants for programs serving rural and Tribal communities;
  • Extend the allowed period of follow-up services to 24 months;
  • Expedite the provision of services to out-of-school youth by reducing the waiting period to the minimum amount possible;
  • Allow funding for participant meals;
  • Allow grantees to count YouthBuild funds towards the matching requirement under the National Community Service Act; and
  • Require States to share Unemployment Insurance wage data with YouthBuild programs.

“In YouthBuild programs across the country, young people create the next best versions of themselves through skills training, workforce development and education reconnection,” said John Valverde, President and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “Lives are changed, careers are grown and America is strengthened when they gain access to these resources. It is our continued duty to unleash the leadership and untapped potential all around us.”

“Service Year Alliance is happy to support the YouthBuild for the Future Act to reauthorize YouthBuild and implement common-sense policy solutions to improve the YouthBuild experience for opportunity youth and local programs,” said Kristen Bennett, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “In addition to changes that will provide increased services and benefits for YouthBuild participants, the Act will allow funding from the Department of Labor to be used as match for AmeriCorps grants - a desperately needed change that will strengthen YouthBuild programs across the country and increase opportunities for young people. Service years through YouthBuild transform young people’s lives and strengthen communities; Service Year Alliance applauds Representative Hayes for sponsoring the YouthBuild for the Future Act.”

“YouthBuild provides a much-needed opportunity for thousands of young people who are too often overlooked as valuable members of society. Securing YouthBuild funding is critical for our country’s future,” said Terry Moran, Executive Director of Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition.

“The New North Citizen’s Council’s leadership team and our Connecticut River Valley YouthBuild Program is fully supportive of Senator Markey’s YouthBuild for The Future Act. We believe that these much needed modifications to the pre-existing legislation will enhance our services in a way that will be extremely beneficial to the young people that we serve,” said Isaiah Delmoral, Co-Director of NNCC Youth Services.

Read the full text of the bill here.

This bill was included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022, which passed the House during the 117th Congress. YouthBuild taps into the tremendous potential of young people in our country. These critical updates ensure more youth finishing their education, finding work, and leading happier, safer lives.

Endorsements: YouthBuild USA, The Forum for Youth Investment, Service Year Alliance, The Corps Network, Voices for National Service, Jobs for the Future, National Youth Employment Coalition, Center for Law and Social Policy, Northwest Regional Investment Board, Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition, and New North Citizen's Council Youth Services