AT&T Backs YouthBuild to Construct Strong Communities

Young people are facing strong headwinds as they pursue career success in today’s economy. But there are bright spots.

We’re highlighting individuals working hard to succeed despite their challenges and raising awareness of what’s possible to inspire and encourage others.  

It’s part of AT&T’s $10 million commitment announced in 2020 to create economic opportunity and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities. This commitment builds on the $215 million1 we’ve contributed in the past five years to organizations working to increase education, skills building and career readiness opportunities in these communities.


AT&T has supported YouthBuild since 2014, most recently providing the organization a $250,000 contribution to support the work of eight local YouthBuild programs around the country. To learn more about the focus of each of these local grants, click here.

With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources.

At nearly 300 YouthBuild programs across the United States and around the world, students reclaim their education, gain job skills, and become leaders in their communities. To date, YouthBuild has partnered with more than 180,000 young people to dedicate over 50 million hours of service benefitting urban, rural, and tribal communities. YouthBuild strives to create a world where all young people are seen for their potential, and power to transform themselves and their communities.

In the wake of the coronavirus, YouthBuild USA, the global support center for YouthBuild programs around the world, continues to partner closely with local programs to ensure opportunity youth have the resources they need to thrive, both during this time and after. The YouthBuild USA Career Pathways Team meets regularly with local chapters to support the implementation of their innovations, monitor progress, and provide technical assistance specific to their interventions. In addition, the YouthBuild USA Career Pathways team is planning three virtual convenings with all of their participating programs to cross-share innovations, emerging best-practices, challenges and insights and learnings.

James Miller, Heart of Oregon YouthBuild Graduate and Logistics Manager at Rithm Plumbing, Inc.

As 27-year-old James Miller began applying to jobs with a modified diploma, he quickly realized that his applications were being overlooked. “About a month or so after graduation, a school counselor told me about YouthBuild,” said James. “Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I’ve stumbled upon in my whole life.”

After joining Heart of Oregon YouthBuild, James was able to get his GED while also receiving important job training. Today, as an employee at Rithm Plumbing in Oregon, James says his role is constantly evolving and giving him important exposure to different parts of the business. In addition, the YouthBuild alumni network has provided him with a strong network of graduate resources.

“The program not only gave me the knowledge, but also the confidence to be able to advocate for myself,” said James. 

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James Miller, Heart of Oregon YouthBuild Graduate and Logistics Manager at Rithm Plumbing, Inc.

Jonathon Murray, YouthBuild Schenectady Graduate and Self-Employed Entrepreneur

Jonathon first learned of YouthBuild through Community Fathers, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting fathers in the area. “It was my last chance to have an opportunity, and I needed something to push me forward,” said Jonathon. During his time with the program, Murray worked on restoring a historical home that had been severely damaged by Hurricanes Lee and Irene and was able to connect with several impactful mentors along the way.

Now, at 27 years old, Jonathon feels a renewed sense of purpose. “I’m excited and hopeful for the future because of the skills and knowledge I have now,” said Jonathon. “YouthBuild gave me the tools I need to navigate life.”

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Jonathon Murray, YouthBuild Schenectady Graduate and Self-Employed Entrepreneur

Alan Buenrostro, YouthBuild Lake County Graduate and Carpenter at Blinderman Construction

Following high school, Alan secured a job with a local home improvement store. It was there, when helping an elderly woman to her car, that he was first introduced to YouthBuild – the woman’s grandson was an alumnus of the program. “She said she saw a lot of her grandson in me,” said Alan. “We were both determined to make a change and hungry for success.”

After enrolling in and completing the program, Alan looks back on his time with YouthBuild as completely life changing. Gaining hands-on construction experience at job sites was what made him finally realize that this line of work was his passion.

“The most valuable thing I learned from YouthBuild besides my trade, was how to be humble. I learned how to communicate better with others and learned how to work hard for what I want. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to my community with what YouthBuild gave to me.”

1 $202 million of this funding was provided by AT&T, and $13 million was provided through the AT&T Foundation.

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Alan Buenrostro, YouthBuild Lake County Graduate and Carpenter at Blinderman Construction