YBUnited Way of Long Island was awarded a $700,000 grant through Congressionally Directed Spending for its YouthBuild Long Island Program, sponsored by longtime supporters U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice. The funding, directed through the U.S. Department of Labor, will allow United Way of Long Island to expand its YouthBuild program from Hempstead Village into the greater Town of Hempstead, as well as into the City of Long Beach. These specific communities were identified as having a need for the program’s unique workforce development services for young adults.

YouthBuild is a community-based pre-apprenticeship program that provides job training and educational opportunities for individuals. Participants are taught vocational skills in construction by helping to build affordable housing for least advantaged or homeless families through United Way’s state-of-the-art Housing and Green Construction program. Students also explore career paths in other in-demand industries such as healthcare and information technology. To provide a thorough and balanced education, the program is divided between work site training and the classroom, where students learn to be community leaders and prepare for postsecondary opportunities, including college, apprenticeships and employment.“YouthBuild is a local pre-apprenticeship program that helps youth earn their high school diplomas, accrue industry job experience and make a better life for themselves,” observed Senator Schumer. “I am honored to have helped secure this vital funding for YouthBuild and am confident the program will continue to have significant impact on Long Island.”

“YouthBuild offers many young people a lifeline by helping them develop a valuable toolkit for leading a successful adult life," said Representative Rice. “I am proud to support YouthBuild’s mission to reduce unemployment and provide job opportunities, and I am confident that this program will contribute to economic growth across Long Island.”

“United Way of Long Island thanks Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Rice for their ongoing, critically important support,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “This YouthBuild grant will greatly impact our ability to create positive change in Hempstead and Long Beach by helping youth take steps toward becoming empowered and self-sufficient young adults. We are honored to provide these vital services that contribute to the economic development of our region.”

Since 2010, YouthBuild has positively affected the lives of hundreds of young adults, establishing itself as one of the most effective youth development programs in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. YouthBuild has had more than 400 graduates, with one-third moving into construction jobs, one-third into other careers and one-third pursuing higher education.

The YouthBuild Program in the Town of Hempstead and City of Long Beach has broad support from community-wide stakeholders including the Hempstead Empire State Poverty Reduction Task Force, policy makers, elected officials, government officials, labor, religious leadership, community-based organizations, housing, leadership from the education and technical training sectors, private sector companies, and employer groups.

To learn more about United Way’s YouthBuild program, visit www.unitedwayli.org/youthbuildli.