Senator Montgomery Rallies with Young Advocates in Support of the “YouthBuild Act”

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Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s “New York State YouthBuild Act” (S839/A165) passed the Senate after a morning rally with young advocates from throughout the state. Member organizations from the New York State YouthBuild Coalition urged passage of this important legislation which would create a permanent funding structure to support YouthBuild programs within the New York State Department of Labor. The new grant program would enable direct state funding of existing YouthBuild programs and allow for the creation of new programs.

YouthBuild is also one of the most effective and successful diversion programs in New York State. This nationally and internationally recognized program builds a pathway of success for young people aged 16-24 who have been involved with the criminal justice system, out-of-school students, out-of-work youth.

“YouthBuild programs play a major role in fundamentally changing the way youth interact with the criminal justice system. Young people who are out of school and out of work are particularly susceptible to getting caught up in the criminal justice system, even though they have all the potential in the world,” said bill sponsor and state Senator Montgomery. “YouthBuild catches these young people when they fall off-track, providing academic, professional and leadership opportunities that allow them to thrive. These are the kinds of programs that need to be lifted up and I am proud to sponsor the YouthBuild Act which would give them access to additional funding opportunities.”

“Yesterday, Senator Montgomery presented to the NYS YouthBuild Coalition at their Education Day in Albany where programs from across New York State came together to educate & inform their legislators about the great work YouthBuild programs do in their communities. We want to thank Senator Montgomery for her leadership for NYS YouthBuild programs, and we especially thank the senator for moving her bill, S.839, the ‘NYS YouthBuild Act,’ through the process which culminated in passage of the bill on the floor of the NYS Senate yesterday,” said Bonnie Landi, Chair of the NYS YouthBuild Coalition.

“DREAMS YouthBuild students definitely walked away motivated and excited by seeing the power of their youth voice. We love and appreciate the time Senator Montgomery spent with us,” said Ditashiah Kohn, Director of DREAMS YouthBuild Programs for the Settlement Housing Fund.

YouthBuild programs provide high school equivalency educational services, stipends, college readiness, vocational and skills training (in fields such as construction, IT, building maintenance, green energy training, nursing, etc.), union apprenticeships, professional certifications (construction certification, OSHA certification), career services and job placement assistance, permanent economic self-sufficiency as well as ongoing placement services and support for thousands of YouthBuild alumni.

There are seven YouthBuild programs in New York City: DREAMS YouthBuild, YouthBuild NMIC, New Settlement YouthBuild, YouthBuild SoBRO, Youth Action YouthBuild East Harlem, YouthBuild Staten Island and Queens Community House YouthBuild. For more information about YouthBuild or to request a copy of Senator Montgomery’s Guide to New York State YouthBuild Programs, call 718-643-6140.