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 runs for nine months, but could be shorter or longer depending on individual needs. 

Now Enrolling for the Fall 2019 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 optional, but useful step. Information sessions will be held throughout Summer 2019. 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: (located at LearningWorks)

July 24th, 3pm

July 31st, 9am

August 7th, 3pm

August 14th, 9am

September 4th, 3pm

September 11th, 9am

September 18th, 3pm

  • Step 3: Interview with member of YBA staff. This is a mandatory step for all 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. Prior to the official “start” of YBA, all conditionally accepted students must attend a orientation. This session will provide an overview of the first days and weeks of YBA, outline the program rules and expectations, and give the conditionally accepted students an opportunity to meet as a group for the 1st time. Attendance at the Orientation is mandatory.

Orientation for Fall 2019 Cohort: September 25th, 9-10am

  • Step 5: Mental Toughness and Probation Period. Upon starting at YBA, the first month of programming will consist of “Mental Toughness,” a YouthBuild tradition that is a mix of team building, orienting, 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.

Start Date for Fall 2019 Cohort: Monday, September 30th, 8:45am.

Late Applicants and Enrollees: all interested students who submit an application after Orientation will only be considered on a case-by-case basis. Any late enrollees who are not accepted into the Fall 2019 cohort will be considered for the next cohort (tentatively starting in February 2020).

Program Partners:
Jobs for Maine 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
Rock Coast Personnel
Sail ME
Silly’s Restaurant
Southern Maine Community College
The Marriott at Sable Oaks
Wayside Food Programs
Wolfe’s Neck Farms
YouthBuild USA
Take2 YouthBuild