Category: Press Release

Press Release

Local Young Adults Engage with Illinois Leaders at Springfield Leadership Summit

SPRINGFIELD, IL — This week, several young adults from YouthBuild Lake County (YBLC) joined forces with other YouthBuild programs from across Illinois in the Leadership Summit held in Springfield. The event, spanning three days at the state capital, aimed to enhance awareness of the YouthBuild initiatives with key Illinois politicians and to underscore the vital services YouthBuild programs provide.

YBLC sent six current participants, two alumni, and staff to the series of enriching activities and demonstrations. The summit kicked off with a group dinner on Monday, followed by team-building exercises that fostered connections among youth from various regions of the state.

Senator Adriane Johnson visiting YBLC participants during the construction demonstration.

On Tuesday, YBLC participants showcased their skills during a construction demonstration alongside other programs from across the state. The YBLC team constructed a doghouse, which was donated to a local pet shelter.  Senator Adriane Johnson visited the demonstration and had the chance to speak to the young people while they were building.  

The summit also provided a platform for meaningful engagement with key political figures. On Tuesday, the group met with Illinois Senate President Don Harmon to discuss the transformative impact of YouthBuild programs. The following day, members had the honor of meeting with Representatives Rita Mayfield and Martin McLaughlin at the Capitol Building. The discussions focused on personal testimonies from YBLC participants, highlighting the profound influence of YouthBuild on their lives.

Representative Rita Mayfield alongside YouthBuild Lake County and other program participants.

The highlight of the trip came when the YBLC participants had the unique opportunity to sit in the speaker’s gallery during a legislative hearing. Representative Mayfield recognized the group to the legislators and delivered a moving state resolution, reiterating her long-standing support for YouthBuild and its ongoing significance across Illinois.

YBLC is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and remains dedicated to empowering young people through education, skills training, and community service, continually striving to make a positive impact both locally and at the state level.

For more information about YouthBuild Lake County and their initiatives, please visit

YouthBuild Lake County staff and participants in the Speaker’s Gallery.

Press Release

Senator Johnson & Representative Mayfield Direct Millions To Local Non-Profits

Senator Johnson And Representative Mayfield Direct Much Needed Funding To Lake County YouthBuild Agencies Serving Opportunity Youth

NORTH CHICAGO, IL – Two YouthBuild programs in Lake County received a combined total of $2,060,000 in state grants to fund their youth education and career training programs in Lake County with the support of Senator Adriane Johnson and Representative Rita Mayfield.  They have both shown unwavering support for YouthBuild.  A reception was held in their honor at YouthBuild Lake County on October 26.

YouthBuild Lake County in North Chicago and Youth Conservation Corps in Waukegan both offer YouthBuild programs to opportunity youth ages 17-24 in Lake County. The YouthBuild program model includes High School diploma attainment, career readiness and life skills support.  Both programs provide construction training by building or renovating affordable housing within Lake County. Annually, these 2 agencies enroll over 80 youth in the YouthBuild program.

In attendance at the reception, along with Senator Johnson and Representative Mayfield, representatives from three Illinois YouthBuild programs were present, North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, and participants, staff, and board members from YouthBuild Lake County and Youth Conservation Corps. 

Representative Mayfield Touring One of YouthBuild Lake County’s Affordable Housing Worksites

Before the reception, the legislators toured the agencies and construction project sites for both YouthBuild Lake County and Youth Conservation Corps. The legislators rode together with participants from both programs and spoke with them about their experience in the YouthBuild Programs.

“During my tour, I was able to see firsthand some of the amazing work being done by the staff and students there,” said Representative Mayfield. “YouthBuild not only helps build career skills, it positions Lake County youth to be pillars of their community by getting them involved in the creation and improvement of affordable housing in our area. I am proud to partner with this fantastic organization, and I look forward to seeing what they continue to accomplish.”

Both Legislators Posing With Local YouthBuild Members After The Event

During the reception, the Senator and Representative accepted awards from the Illinois YouthBuild Coalition, YouthBuild Build Lake County and Youth Conservation Corp. 

Senator Johnson was instrumental in YouthBuild Lake County’s ability to secure $1M in capital improvement funds and an additional $200,000 to be used to expand enrollment.

“This funding will help give our youth the courage they need to pursue their dreams without limitations,” said Senator Johnson. “I want women and people of color to know that there are no limits to their success and encourage them to pursue a job in fields where they are underrepresented.”

“Senator Johnson and Representative Mayfield are true public servants and are committed to this community,” said Tameka Wilson, Illinois YouthBuild Coalition President and YouthBuild Lake County Executive Director. “YouthBuild Lake County and the statewide YouthBuild Coalition recognizes how unique it is to have champions in our state legislators, who are willing to go to bat to bring critical funding to opportunity youth in Lake County. This funding supports affordable housing, workforce education, a talent pipeline to trades and apprenticeships, and most importantly, self-sufficiency of YouthBuild participants through gainful employment. The stakes couldn’t be higher for these young adults, and the impact reaches deeper than we could ever quantify.

Senator Adriane Johnson speaking at YBLC

Senator Johnson Speaking About The Importance of Investing in Our Community’s Youth

“While the construction workforce expands in Illinois, it is imperative that diversity and representation is included in the process,” said Johnson. “I want women and people of color to be encouraged to step into this career path knowing that YouthBuild Lake County is dedicated to ensuring that they have the tools they need to succeed.”

YouthBuild Lake County and Youth Conservation Corps are both part of the Illinois YouthBuild Coalition, which is comprised of 15 YouthBuild programs in Illinois.  Representative Mayfield was instrumental in working with the House to approve a $5.5M budget allocation to fund the Illinois YouthBuild Coalition. The Coalition then granted those dollars to new and existing Illinois YouthBuild Programs resulting in $810,000 being directed to YouthBuild Lake County and Youth Conservation Corps to fund high school education and career training in Lake County.

“We are extremely grateful for Senator Johnson’s and Representative Mayfield’s continued support of YouthBuild programs throughout the State of Illinois,” said Jennifer Yonan, Executive Director of Youth Conservation Corps.  “These two legislative leaders truly understand the important role YouthBuild plays in transforming the lives of young adults in our community.  We were honored to host Senator Johnson and Representative Mayfield for a site visit at Youth Conservation Corps in Waukegan and introduce them to several of our young members so they could hear how the program has positively impacted our members lives.”

The partnership between the Illinois YouthBuild Coalition and both legislators has opened countless opportunities within both the community and state. The unwavering support of both Senator Johnson and Representative Mayfield has already impacted the lives of Lake County young adults. All parties involved are eager to continue their work together and make an even larger impact on the individuals and communities they serve.