Isles YouthBuild was created in 1995 to combat Trenton’s high dropout and low employment rates by preparing at-risk youth (ages 16-24) for work, higher education, and self-reliance.
YouthBuild equally values academics, life skills, and job training skills, offering:
- Academic Instruction: Through Isles Youth Institute, Isles offers a non-traditional educational environment that seeks to bring positive change to those with a history of academic difficulties.
- Vocational Training: YouthBuild provides vocational training in construction. Students complete at least one housing renovation in a targeted low-income neighborhood. After students complete the curriculum, they work to earn industry recognized, entry level certifications in various construction fields.
- Case Management: All students have access to a full-time Case Manager who can refer social services to assist both students and their families. Case Managers also assist students with college applications, scholarship searches, and access to financial aid.
- Job Development: Job readiness classes are offered to all students and include resume writing, financial literacy, interview techniques, appropriate dress, application practice, and the importance of timeliness and attendance. Additionally, YouthBuild offers job experience through shadowing opportunities, internships, and job placement opportunities.
- Life Skills: Youth take life skills classes and are provided with learning opportunities, which include relationship building, public speaking, and networking.
- Mentoring Program: The YouthBuild Mentoring Program matches students with caring adult mentors from the Trenton community. Mentors help their mentees prepare for college and the workforce and also engage in recreational and community service activities with their mentees.
- Extended Evening Program: The EEP provides activities designed to keep youth off the streets between the high-risk hours of 4 and 8pm. Activities include trips to the theatre; college tours; service activities; education programs in fine art, etiquette, and nutrition; recreational activities, and more.
AmeriCorps is a national service learning program that engages more than 75,000 Americans each year to meet critical community needs. YouthBuild AmeriCorps is a full-time program. Members spend half of their time building or rehabilitating low-income housing as their primary service activity and the other half earning their HSE or high school diplomas. Upon completion, members receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for $1,527.45 from the National Service Trust that can be used for post-secondary colleges and advanced vocational training programs.