Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

HACC YouthBuild is a community-based pre-apprenticeship program designed to offer a unique second chance to young people. We serve exclusively at-risk and disadvantaged youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who have dropped out of high school or those who high school may no longer be a viable option for by providing basic education, occupational training and leadership development while addressing several core issues important to low-income communities: affordable housing, education, employment, and leadership development.

Our program model is 50/40/10 we spend 50% of our time in the classroom focused on education and helping our students earn their HS diploma, 40% of the time in the program is spent working on the construction site and gaining hands on real world experience, and 10 % is about leadership development, we teach our young people how to lead and serve in their community. Each cohort we enroll helps to renovate units of affordable housing that help low income families be stably housed. students spend approximately 120 hours on the construction worksite.

HACC YouthBuild was founded in 2020 and has been operating this unique model for nearly 3 years. Our program helps young adults to earn an accredited Highschool diploma, a Certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research and a variety of other career credentials that help them obtain employment and earn a living wage such as OSHA 10 & 30, Flaggers, Forklift, First Aide and CPR. YouthBuild has a 91% credential attainment rate.

In addition to all of the career and education support the YouthBuild program offers, participants are also coached and guided by our trained staff while undergoing intensive case management that allows us to help eliminate barriers to success by identifying areas of need. Our supportive service program is funded through grants and community donations and is a big part of the success of our program.

The question we receive the most is do we offer GED or HS diploma. HACC does not offer any GED services, students who join the YouthBuild program earn an accredit highschool diploma.

Does the program cost anything to join? – No YouthBuild actually pays a stipend to our participants, on average we pay student $80-$90 a week in a general attendance stipend, students can also earn additional money for reaching milestones each week, the biggest check we’ve seen is about $900 in one week for hitting all milestones toward earning a HS diploma & career credentials.

YouthBuild works in partnership with the city of Champaign as a violence reduction blueprint partner

We provide a stipend to youth to learn, intensive mentorship and life skills. in addition to those things we have staff that is relatable to the youth we serve. we are a very diverse group of people ranging from those who are college educated, to those who chose other pathways yet we still have the same goals to serve and uplift the youth.

YouthBuild is recruiting now to learn more about our program you can contact Jobie Taylor at

September 26-29 we will host a four day mental toughness. applications can be found online at