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Over $762,000 in Grant Funding from New York State to Expand YouthBuild Long Island Program into Brentwood & Central Islip

United Way of Long Island is the recipient of $762,465 in New York State funding from the Office of Children and Family Services. The funding will be used to expand United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program into the Brentwood and Central Islip communities, which will serve more than 50 young adults over the course of two years. Programming has recently begun and recruitment is still under way.

“The New York State Office of Children and Family Services is proud to make this investment to expand opportunities for young adults in Brentwood and Central Islip,” said OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. Through YouthBuild, the funding will provide job training, job placement and skills development, paving a pathway to career success that will benefit young Long Islanders and their entire communities for decades to come.”  

YouthBuild Long Island was founded in 2009 and has impacted more than 300 young adults to date. YouthBuild Brentwood-Central Islip builds upon United Way’s successful workforce development program model, which currently serves the Wyandanch community and is also expanding into the Village of Hempstead this fall. Workforce development is critical to helping the Brentwood and Central Islip communities achieve prosperity.

The program provides educational and career training for young adults, ages 16-24, to give them the technical and life skills needed to begin entry level jobs that will lead to mid-skills careers. Participating students receive academic training to prepare them to pass the TASC exam for their high school equivalency diploma. They then select a career pathway in construction, healthcare, manufacturing or hospitality. Many YouthBuild graduates advance to additional trades training with United Way’s partner, Opportunities Long Island, where a significant portion of graduates have gained connections and moved on to apprenticeships and careers with local unions as ironworkers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters. Other YouthBuild alumni have gone on to succeed as nursing assistants, home health aides, licensed practical nurses and college graduates.

Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island, explained, “This YouthBuild grant significantly builds on United Way’s capacity to create change in Long Island communities, especially the towns of Brentwood and Central Islip.  Engaging and reconnecting young adults to education, work, and their community is key to the continued economic development of our region. We are fortunate to have received this grant allowing us to provide these critical services.”

“As a former educator and Brentwood High School alumna, I understand the importance first-hand of providing young adults with meaningful opportunities and personalized guidance. YouthBuild Long Island provides our next generation with gainful employment and improved quality of life,” stated New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez.

“YouthBuild Long Island provides possibility for young adults, a chance to become self-empowered and realize their full potential. This program is a huge asset to Brentwood,” noted New York State Senator Phil Boyle.

“YouthBuild is a valuable resource for our community. It provides opportunity for our young men and women who need assistance in figuring out their life’s direction. I am a proud supporter of this program,” stated New York State Assemblyman Phil Ramos.

“We are pleased to partner with United Way of Long Island to identify YouthBuild Long Island candidates,” said Richard Loeschner, Superintendent of Brentwood Schools. “This program will ensure that our school district’s residents have a pathway to career success and financial stability.”

“Our students seek ways to support themselves and increase their livelihood. YouthBuild Long Island satisfies this need for our community members to engage in productive work,” said Dr. Howard M. Koenig, Superintendent of Central Islip Schools.

United Way of Long Island is partnering with 13 community agencies to achieve programmatic success and rebuild the lives of Brentwood and Central Islip youth: Long Island Federation of Labor; Suffolk County Department of Labor; Town of Islip Community Development Agency; Brentwood Union Free School District; Central Islip School District; Suffolk County Community College; Family Service League; Adelante of Suffolk County; LGBT Network; Long Island Educational Opportunity Center at Farmingdale State College; Opportunities Long Island;  Long Island Federation of Labor; and the Building & Construction Trades of Nassau & Suffolk Counties. From recruitment to counseling, life skills training to leadership development, and academic training to apprenticeships, these community agencies are integral to providing resources, services and opportunities to YouthBuild students and graduates. 

To learn more about YouthBuild Long Island, inlcuding how to enroll, visit

About New York State Office of Children and Family Services
The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, families, and communities. @NYSOCFS, @NYSOCFS_espanol and