Our Youth Building Alternatives (YBA) program serves teens and young adults who have struggled to find their way in the traditional education system. Since 1994, we have helped high school dropouts aged 16-24 successfully transition to adulthood through an alternative education model that includes HiSET exam preparation, construction skills training, leadership development, job skills, and life skills. Through YBA, 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 offer one year of follow-up services to our graduates to support their transition to continued education and the workforce.


of our Youth Building Alternatives students go on to jobs and education


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


Maine Youth Building Alternatives participants have rehabbed four units of housing in the last three years

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

  • Education
  • Employment Skills
  • Jobs Leads
  • Leadership Skills
  • Community Service
  • Case Management

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

Now Enrolling for our January 2021 Cohort!

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 YBA 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 30-60 minutes, depending on attendance.

Upcoming Information Sessions:

November 4th  (At LearningWorks; 3:00pm)

December 9th  (At LearningWorks; 3:00pm)

January 6th (at LearningWorks; 3:00pm)

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

  • Step 3: Interview with member of YBA staff. This is a mandatory step for all prospective YBA students. The purpose of this interview is to better understand each prospective student’s needs, goals, and motivation for attending YBA.
  • Step 4: Program Orientation: Join us to meet your classmates. complete final paperwork, and go over basic program expectations and schedule with the YBA Team.
  • Step 5: Mental Toughness and Probation Period. Upon starting at YBA, 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, students 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 student if a fully accepted YBA student, 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.  Students who do not successfully complete Mental Toughness may also be considered for a future cohort on a case-by-case basis.

2021 Cohort Start Dates

Winter Cohort: January 25, 2021

Spring Cohort: June 1, 2021

Fall Cohort: October 12, 2021

Program Partners:
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG)
Camp Ketcha
City of Portland
Coastal Counties Workforce Investment Board
Gebhardt Property Management
Good Shepherd Food Bank
Goodwill Workforce Solutions
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates
L.L. Bean
Maine Works
One Tree Learning Center
Paradigm Windows
Portland Housing Authority
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
Portland Trails
Preble Street Resource Center
Sail ME
Southern Maine Community College
The Marriott at Sable Oaks
Wayside Food Programs
Wolfe’s Neck Farms
YouthBuild USA
Take2 YouthBuild