United Way of Long Island's YouthBuild is expanding.

United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild is expanding into Brentwood and Central Islip, where it is recruiting more than 50 young adults to participate in the education and career development program.

New York State awarded the nonprofit a $762,465 grant through the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to fund expansion of the program, which runs two years.

“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,” said OCFS Commissioner Sheila Poole. 

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 to 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. 

“This program will ensure that our school district’s residents have a pathway to career success and financial stability,” said Richard Loeschner, Superintendent of Brentwood Schools. 

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.

United Way of Long Island partners with more than a dozen community agencies to make the program a success. They include the Long Island Federation of Labor, Suffolk County Department of Labor, Town of Islip Community Development Agency, and many others. 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. 

“Engaging and reconnecting young adults to education, work, and their community is key to the continued economic development of our region,” said United Way of Long Island President and CEO Theresa A. Regnante. “We are fortunate to have received this grant allowing us to provide these critical services.”

To learn more about YouthBuild Long Island, visit unitedwayli.org/YouthBuildLI

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