YouthBuild Lake County isn’t like any other path to success. Our staff works with you to figure out how YouthBuild will best fit your needs and will design an individualized plan to help you achieve your goals. Our program provides you the opportunity to earn your high school diploma and receive college and career readiness training. We help you focus on the next level in your road to employment by gaining hands-on work experience, earning industry-recognized credentials and certifications, and transitioning into a career, college, or vocational school. When you join YouthBuild, you become a member for life. We will always be here to offer support, encouragement, and guidance along the way.


We partner with Penn Foster, an online nationally and regionally accredited high school. You are able to work at your own pace while you earn your high school diploma for free. Penn Foster offers courses in general education like history and math, as well as electives like automotive repair and art appreciation. Our education staff is here to help you with what you need to earn your diploma and further your education. We have connections to local colleges and vocational schools and offer resources to help you from the application process to graduation and everything in between. You will also earn industry-recognized credentials that add to your experience and set you up for success as you start you career.

Construction and Other Career Pathways

You will learn valuable construction skills and work to give back to your community by building homes, furniture, office space, and more. In addition, you will gain the skills necessary for a career by participating in mock interviews and resume workshops as well as an internship or work experience with one of our local business partners. We help you build your future by offering career pathways in fields such as:

  • Construction
  • HVAC
  • Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • Automotive

Leadership Development

As a YouthBuild member, you are also a part of AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps members volunteer at food banks, book distribution centers, help to beautify local parks, and so much more. Working on our construction sites also earns AmeriCorps hours. All members who complete 450 service hours will earn a $1678 education award that can be used to help pay for college tuition. We also encourage civic engagement and believe that each and every one of you has the power to make a difference in your community. You will have the opportunity to run for Youth Policy Council, which allows you to work side-by-side with our Board of Directors to advocate for your peers and be a leader within the program.

Support Services

We recognize that mental health and wellness can influence overall wellbeing. That’s why we have partnered with Rosalind Franklin University to create the Wellness Program. RFU provides free mental health assessments and treatment as well as substance abuse and relationship counseling. In addition, our staff provides mentoring, career coaching, and services to help you meet your basic needs. This can be anything from providing a bus card, to helping you find childcare, to offering you resources so you can access food and shelter. We want you to be able to fully focus on your future, so to do so we will even pay you a small stipend while attending. We understand that having access to quality financial tools will further add to your success. In our program, you will take classes to teach you about credit and the necessity of budgeting and saving. We will even help you set up a bank account with a debit card if needed.

Alumni Success

Our staff works to build partnerships with community organizations, employers, and workforce development organizations. As an alumnus, it is important to us that you continue to have access to job opportunities and the tools you need to grow in your career. Once you are a member of YouthBuild, you are a member for life. We want you to continue to use us as a resource and we pledge to offer you follow up support and guidance in your career, education, and life. Check out our Members + Alumni Services page for more resources.