Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) were joined today by New York State Senator Terry Gipson, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, and Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik for a tour of a newly renovated, energy-efficient house at 206 Winnikee Avenue, which was rebuilt by students in the Poughkeepsie YouthBuild Program. Senator Gillibrand spoke to the students before the tour and called for continued federal support for vital job training programs like YouthBuild.
Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Maloney successfully fought for reauthorization of the program, which was included in the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was passed by Congress and signed into law in July of this year by President Obama.
“The YouthBuild students here in Poughkeepsie accomplished something incredible through their hard work and determination,” said Senator Gillibrand. “They worked together to turn a dilapidated, abandoned property into a beautiful, affordable, and efficient home. YouthBuild is a program that works, and this impressive new house in Poughkeepsie is a testament to that. We need to keep supporting programs like this; they’re the ultimate investment in our future.”
“As the father of three, I know how important it is that our students get the education and job training they need to get 21st century jobs that strengthen our communities and grow our economy. Partnering together with programs like YouthBuild, we can revitalize our neighborhoods and put hardworking folks back to work rebuilding our economy,” said Rep. Maloney.
“Nubian Directions is the proud sponsor of New Directions YouthBuild AmeriCorps Partnership in Poughkeepsie, New York,” said Robert Wright, Executive Director of Poughkeepsie’s YouthBuild Program and President of Nubian Directions. “We are proud of our YouthBuild AmeriCorps students. Working alongside seasoned professionals, our trainees converted a single-family house into two affordable and sustainable rental apartments. We are honored to have Senator Gillibrand come to Poughkeepsie as our guest as we celebrate this significant milestone. In Washington, she is respected as YouthBuild’s champion, working with both sides of the aisle to insure that our nation’s disconnected youth remain a high priority for job training and educational opportunities. Truly, it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to raise the hopes and dreams of out-of-school, out-of-work young people. It is our privilege to serve as a gathering place where caring adults interact with youth, working together to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of low-income young people to rebuild their communities and their lives.”
“After touring this site earlier this year it’s amazing to see this sustainable home completed and all that these young men and women have accomplished,” said NYS Senator Terry Gipson. “Nubian Directions and YouthBuild are important causes in our community and it’s wonderful to have Senator Gillibrand here in Poughkeepsie to celebrate their efforts. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her commitment to the Hudson Valley and our youth and I congratulate all who were involved in this project for a job well done.”
“We are pleased to direct our HOME funds to the redevelopment of this property,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. “In partnership with the City of Poughkeepsie and Nubian Directions, we’ve been able to transform a blighted building and enhance the City’s housing stock, while providing an opportunity for young adults to learn marketable skills in the construction trade. This project serves as a model for how other deteriorated properties throughout the City could be redeveloped.”
“This is a great example of government working with its partners in the not for profit world to stabilize a neighborhood and put a long vacant property back to useful life,” said Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik.
“YouthBuild in our great State of New York has been a corner stone in changing the lives of countless youth,” said Nate Almeida, Poughkeepsie YouthBuild graduate and 2011 YouthBuild USA Young Leaders Council Vice-President. “Furthermore, in the City of Poughkeepsie, as a graduate of YouthBuild, I have experienced both the immediate and abstract benefits of the program. I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it as a student. During my tenure in the program, I had the distinct honor of serving at the national level on YouthBuild USA’s Young Leader’s Council. Presently, I serve as volunteer for the program as Program Advocate.”
The reconstruction of the house at 206 Winnikee Avenue provided 67 students with green-building and job training programs. The program specifically targets out-of-work, out-of-school youth, and addresses several pressing needs in the Poughkeepsie area, including the need for alternative education services for out-of-school-youth, increased sustainable teach-green job skills, and the need for affordable, energy-efficient housing.
Since the renovation groundbreaking in August 2012, Poughkeepsie’s YouthBuild trainees have transformed the dilapidated property at 206 Winnikee Avenue into two sustainable and affordable apartments.
Senator Gillibrand has been an active leader in advocating for youth educational and job training programs. She worked to secure the YouthBuild authorization in WIOA, which was bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize federal job training programs that was enacted earlier this year.
In April, Senator Gillibrand led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee along with 31of her colleagues, requesting $102.5 million in funding for YouthBuild for Fiscal Year 2015. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million youth in the United States who are disconnected, low-income, and without a high school diploma. Increased funding for DOL’s YouthBuild Program would help more disconnected youth benefit from these critical job training and educational services.
In New York State, YouthBuild has 17 chapters, and YouthBuild’s DOL-funded centers have served 2,259 students since 2007. At the Poughkeepsie center, 67 students have been served by federally-supported YouthBuild programming since 2011, with 80 percent of students receiving their high school diploma or equivalent, and 70 percent of students gaining employment or enrolling in college.
YouthBuild has been in existence since 1994 and is operated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). They provide job training and educational programs to low-income youth between the ages of 16 to 24, who have not graduated from high school or received an equivalent degree. Program participants are engaged in year-long education and job training courses with a focus on training in the construction and carpentry fields. Counseling, mentoring, and leadership development programs are also offered to participants. Nationwide, the program serves more than 130,000 students in 46 states, and has built more than 28,000 affordable housing units for homeless and low-income individuals.