MILWAUKEE — A program in Milwaukee is working to help resolve two major challenges the city faces: a shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and a lack of opportunities for at-risk young adults.

What You Need To Know

  • The YouthBuild program helps build more affordable housing and gets young adults back on track

  • YouthBuild is for young adults ages 18-24

  • It's a 10-month program with a stipend offered

  • Construction will be complete around October

It’s called YouthBuild and is run by Milwaukee Christian Center. The program is for those ages 18–24 who have not finished high school and who may face challenges finding work due to various life experiences.

Participants in the program get hands-on experience in construction, while building new homes for low-income families.

Kenneth Yarn, a father of three, said it’s a great opportunity for him.

“It is a trade I wanted to pick up,” he said. “It is my career. That’s how I look at it. It’s a great program. Beneficial and a way to take care of your family.”

For 10 months, participants receive a stipend as they learn the construction trade, get licensed and gain valuable skills and experiences along the way. It comes with no cost to them.

“It focuses on younger adults who might have had a rougher history with keeping employment and finding employment,” said Maya Marion, who oversees YouthBuild for Milwaukee Christian Center.

Learning is not just done at construction sites. YouthBuild also offers a chance for young people to go to classes and earn their GED, completing their high school education for free.

Christian Carson said he will not be wasting this second chance at a high school degree.

“I dropped out of high school my senior year,” he said. “I was playing basketball and was injured and just couldn’t do it at the time. Being here has given me that opportunity to get my GED and be a better man.”

The program helps with responsibility and accountability, encouraging participants to be on time and prepared for their tasks.

Whether inside the classroom or at the construction sites, lives are being transformed and futures are being built — one home at a time. 

“It is basically for anybody that is looking to get their life back on track,” said Yarn.

If you are interested in learning more about YouthBuild, click here.