Greater Newark Area

Since launching in 2003, YBN has positively affected the lives of over 1,300 young adults, establishing itself as one of the most effective youth development programs in the Greater Newark area and New Jersey. Of the hundreds of applications YBN receives annually throughout Essex County, most are from young adults who reside in the Central and South Wards in Newark, which are two of the city’s lowest income areas. Despite disproportionately high crime, unemployment and poverty rates, YBN has helped hundreds of disconnected youth take steps toward becoming empowered and self-sufficient young adults.

  • On average, 80% of students who sit for the GED test, pass.
  • Since 2008, an average of 75% of students have earned their National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) credential.
  • On average, less than 5% of former juvenile offenders commit an offense during program enrollment.
  • Students have developed 32 units of affordable housing since 2003.

In September 2011, YBN also introduced its proven youth development model into the Newark Public Schools (NPS) district when it launched Newark Leadership Academy (NLA), an alternative vocational high school for over-aged and under-credited 16 to 20 year old youth.

New Jersey

The reach of YouthBuild programming in New Jersey is extensive.

In 2009, there were four YouthBuild programs in New Jersey (Newark, Paterson, Trenton and Camden). Due to support from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG), three (3) additional programs were created in 2010.

YBN’s capacity to effectively engage young offenders resulted in significant support from the U.S. Department of Labor, and enabled the agency to replicate its program in four additional communities (Jersey City, Elizabeth, Atlantic City and Passaic). During a two-year period, 400+ youth were served. At present, there are ten (10) YouthBuild programs throughout the State serving hundreds of out-of-school, unemployed (and, on many occasions, re-entry) youth and young adults each year.

The success of YouthBuild programs in New Jersey prompted the state to engage the Rutgers Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration’s Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies to assess the model as an viable support system for disadvantaged youth. To read more about the Cornwall Center’s efforts, click here.


There are now 273 YouthBuild programs in 45 states, Washington, DC, and the Virgin Islands. Approximately 92,000 YouthBuild students have built 19,000 units of affordable, increasingly green, housing since 1994.



YouthBuild also has international impact with programs in: South Africa, Haiti, Brazil, Israel, etc. In a move to promote successful youth development on a global scale, in October 2012, YBN hosted youth development program YouthBuild Israel (YBIL) to foster international knowledge exchange. With YBN having previously hosted YouthBuild South Africa and YouthBuild Brazil, YBIL is the third international program to approach YBN for guidance on how to positively impact disadvantaged young adults.


Return on Investment (ROI)

Research shows a return on investment of at least $10.80 and up to $43.90 for every dollar spent on any court-involved YouthBuild participant, and $7.80 to $11.70 for every participant, based on the percentage who achieve GEDs or diplomas.

Recidivism rates for court-involved YouthBuild Newark students continues to be less than 5%.