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November 17, 2020

YouthBuild USA and AT&T Announce 2020 Innovation Grant Recipients

ROXBURY, Mass., November 17, 2020 — To strengthen job placement and retention outcomes for opportunity youth in YouthBuild programs across the country, YouthBuild USA has announced the 2020 recipients of its Innovation Grant Program. With generous funding from AT&T, the Innovation Grants help support local YouthBuild programs’ work-based learning initiatives, paid internships or employment placement offerings. The awards aim to bolster programs’ abilities to help students obtain employment while identifying effective practices that can be replicated throughout the entire YouthBuild network.

In YouthBuild programs, opportunity youth — young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed — pursue their education, prepare for future careers and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods.

The local programs awarded these funds have introduced a new and creative idea to improve youth placement and retention in employment. The 2020 Innovation Grant Winners are:


For Alumni Development and Student Placement/Tracking Technology:

YouthBuild Lake County – North Chicago, Illinois –  $25,000

Civic Works YouthBuild – Baltimore, Maryland – $11,600


For Community College Partnerships:

SALS West Virginia Coalfields YouthBuild – Kincaid, West Virginia – $25,000


For Employer Partnership and Relationship Building:

Heart of Oregon YouthBuild – Bend, Oregon –  $25,000


For Mentoring Expansion:

California Heritage YouthBuild – Redding, California – $16,870

Compton YouthBuild – Compton, California – $25,000


For 21st Century Skill Development:

Housing Authority of the City of Tampa YouthBuild – Tampa, Florida – $22,410

Project REBUILD – Canton, Ohio – $9,120


“The testing of new, innovative practices to help opportunity youth is exactly what we need right now,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “The agility of local YouthBuild programs is an inspiration and an example to follow in these uncertain times. We are so grateful to AT&T for their collaboration in catalyzing change and strengthening career pathways for YouthBuild students across the country.”

AT&T’s support is part of the company’s $10 million commitment to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities who face long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment, all of which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“YouthBuild’s footprint in communities across the country is of critical importance right now,” said Mylayna Albright, AVP Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T. “As we work together to recover and rebuild, AT&T is thrilled to support YouthBuild’s Innovation grants, and are eager to see the impact they’ll have on young people nationwide.”

Worldwide, more than 350 million young people between the ages of 16 to 24 lack pathways to work, training or school. These opportunity youth are too often characterized by their struggles with unemployment, poverty and crime, rather than by their potential. With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources.

Throughout the next twelve months, the YouthBuild USA Career Pathways team will meet regularly with the eight individual program grantees to support the implementation of their innovations, monitor progress and provide technical assistance. Three virtual convenings will take place in December 2020, March 2021 and May 2021 to share innovations, emerging best practices and insights.

YouthBuild USA is the nonprofit support center for a global network of 290 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 233 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 57 programs in 17 other countries.


About YouthBuild

With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership. At nearly 300 YouthBuild programs across the United States and around the world, students reclaim their education, gain job skills, and become leaders in their communities. To date, YouthBuild has partnered with more than 180,000 young people to dedicate over 50 million hours of service benefitting urban, rural, and tribal communities. YouthBuild strives to create a world where all young people are seen for their potential, and power to transform themselves and their communities. YouthBuild USA – the support center for the YouthBuild movement – strengthens YouthBuild programs through technical assistance, leadership development, innovative program enhancements, and advocacy. YouthBuild programs located outside of the United States are supported by YouthBuild USA’s international division, YouthBuild International.

For more information about the YouthBuild movement, YouthBuild USA, and YouthBuild International, visit

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

Our society doesn’t work if it doesn’t work equally for all. We recognize that inequalities are pervasive and we have a role to play in helping to address them. That’s why we’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations. We have a long history of investing in projects that promote academic and economic achievement and addressing community needs that promote social justice and racial equality. With a financial commitment of $600 million through AT&T Aspire since 2008, AT&T has leveraged technology, relationships and social innovation to help give people – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – the opportunity to succeed.


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