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 2019-2020 Cohorts!

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: (located at LearningWorks)

October 30th: 9am and 3pm

November 20th: 9am and 3pm

December 18th: 9am and 3pm

January 8th: 9am and 3pm

February 26th: 9am and 3pm

March Info Session Canceled – Please email info@learningworks.me for more information.

April 15th: 9am and 3pm

May 13th: 9am and 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: January 15th 9-10am for the Winter Cohort, and May 20th 9-10am for the Spring Cohort.
  • 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.

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.

2019-2020 Cohort Start Dates

Fall Cohort: October 15, 2019 – FULL

Winter Cohort: January 21, 2020

Spring/Summer Cohort: May 26, 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
Sail ME
Southern Maine Community College
The Marriott at Sable Oaks
Wayside Food Programs
Wolfe’s Neck Farms
YouthBuild USA
Take2 YouthBuild