LearningWorks YouthBuild (LWYB) serves teens and young adults who have struggled to find their way in the traditional education system. Since 1994, we have helped young people aged 16-24 who need an alternative to traditional high school successfully transition to adulthood through an alternative education model that includes HiSET exam preparation, construction and culinary skills training, leadership development, work readiness instruction, case management and life skills. YouthBuild members get paid a weekly stipend based on their attendance and the completion of benchmarks.  Through LWYB, these young adults obtain important certifications including NCCER, OSHA-10, ServSafe, and more. Almost all advance toward postsecondary education or career-oriented employment. In addition to the program itself, we also provide one year of follow-up services to our graduates to support their transition to continuing education and/or the workforce.


of our LearningWorks YouthBuild members go on to jobs and education


young people who have dropped out of school are served each year


LearningWorks YouthBuild members have rehabbed or helped construct multiple units of affordable housing around southern Maine over the past 3 years

Why join LearningWorks YouthBuild?
LearningWorks YouthBuild can help you get your high school equivalency (HiSET) certificate and earn marketable skills to become a valuable candidate in the job market. It includes the following core components:

  • Education/Academics
  • Vocational Training in Culinary/Hospitality
  • Vocational Training in Construction
  • Work-Readiness Training and Employment Support
  • Leadership Skills
  • Community Service
  • Case Management

The program generally runs for 7-9 months, but could be shorter or longer depending on individual needs and progress. 

Enrollment Process:

  • Step 1: Fill out an application. This is how we gather key eligibility information, gain contact information, and learn about your interests and goals.





  • Step 2: Attend an information session. This is an opportunity to tour the LWYB facility, meet the staff, learn about our program, and ask any questions you may have. You also have the opportunity to schedule your interview during the information sessions. All information sessions should last between 45-60 minutes, depending on attendance.

Contact us to schedule a visit or join us for an upcoming Information Session!

June 21st 1:00pm – Canceled

July 19th 1:00pm

August 30th 1:00pm

September 20th 1:00pm


Our next cohort is enrolling September 30th, 2024


Please email Program Director Nate Snow at nsnow@learningworks.me for more information.


  • Step 3: Interview with member of LWYB staff. This is a mandatory step for all prospective LWYB members. The purpose of this interview is to better understand each prospective member’s needs, goals, and motivation for attending LWYB.


  • Step 4: Program Orientation: Join us to meet your teammates. complete final paperwork, and go over basic program expectations and schedule with the LWYB Team.


  • Step 5: Mental Toughness and Probation Period. Upon starting at LWYB, the first two weeks of programming will consist of “Mental Toughness,” a YouthBuild tradition that is a mix of team building, orientation, and career-readiness activities, and a probationary period.  During this period of time, members who have been “conditionally accepted” must meet all program expectations in order to continue on with the program.  Successful completion of Mental Toughness and the Probation Period means that the individual is a fully accepted LWYB member, and can begin earning their stipend.


  • Late Applicants and Enrollees: Any interested students who submit an application after Orientation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Any late enrollees not accepted into the current cohort will be considered for the next cohort.  Individuals who do not successfully complete Mental Toughness may also be considered for a future cohort on a case-by-case basis.

Program Partners:
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG)
City of Portland
Coastal Counties Workforce Investment Board
Friends of Long Creek
Gebhardt Property Management
Good Shepherd Food Bank
Goodwill Workforce Solutions
Habitat for Humanity – York County
L.L. Bean
Maine Works
Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition
Paradigm Windows
Portland Housing Authority
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
Portland Trails
Preble Street
Sail ME
Southern Maine Community College
The Marriott at Sable Oaks
Wayside Food Programs
Wolfe’s Neck Farm
YouthBuild USA
Take2 YouthBuild

The total cost to run the LearningWorks YouthBuild program is $1,725,000. $1,380,000 (80%) is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor. The other $345,000 (20%) is funded through non-Federal resources.