Earn your GED or high school diploma, start a career and become empowered by your community.


Become part of the next generation of convervationists through environmental education, preservation and service.

High school diploma & GED, computer technology & graphic design, construction, health care.

American YouthWorks’ YouthBuild Austin program combines education with paid career training, personal and professional development, and service projects at no cost to participants.

The program offers young adults, ages 16 to 24, the opportunity to complete their education by earning a high school diploma at our on-site charter school or in our instructor-led GED program. No experience is required and participants receive paid career training and industry certifications in computer technology, healthcare, or green construction.

In addition, individualized support services and learning plans are provided, including: counseling, basic needs assistance, graduate support, college readiness, and the New Start initiative for youth who have had involvement with the criminal justice system.

YouthBuild Austin also has service opportunities available for 18-28 year old high school/GED graduates from across the country to serve a full time AmeriCorps term (What is AmeriCorps?). AmeriCorps members provide meaningful service to the Central Texas community and help program participants reach their goals!

Headshot of a YouthBuild Austin graduate in their cap and gown.

Education & Career Development

Program participants get paid to train in one of three in-demand fields — construction, healthcare, and media/information technology — while earning their High School Diploma or GED.

Upon successful completion of the program, alumni have gained employment as community health worker, IT help desk support and Plumbers Union apprentice. Alumni have also gone on to further their education, such as in network administration and medical assistance or by earning business degrees and HVAC certifications.
Learn about alumni resources.

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Community Engagement

In addition to preparing young people for the most in-demand careers in Austin, participants work together to address some of the biggest social inequities in our community, such as houselessness and affordable housing, health disparities, and the digital divide.

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Close up of a YouthBuild Austin participant using a hammer and nail to build a house.
A YouthBuild Austin participant studying for the GED with an academic tutor.

Participant Support & Resources

• Counseling & Case Management
• Mental Health Services
• New Start Initiative
• Child Care Assistance
• Alumni Resources

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Get Involved

• Become an AmeriCorps Member
• Volunteer, Tutor & Mentor
• Host an apprentice or intern at your company
• Construction Services for Nonprofits
• Custom-printed Marketing Products for Nonprofits
• Make a Donation or Gift

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A group of YouthBuild Austin participants with a mentor.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is YouthBuild Austin a school?

YouthBuild Austin is not a public school and is not covered by TEA open-enrollment policies.

YouthBuild Austin is a Department of Labor pre-apprenticeship program that combines education and job training. This includes GED classes and high school diploma classes through an on-campus partnership with The Goodwill Excel Center.


Is programming offered in Spanish?

All programming is in English.


Can I transfer from my current High School?

YouthBuild Austin is a program for youth 16-24 who are not currently attending high school.


How long will it take for me to graduate?

The average student graduates in nine months to a year, though it may vary depending on the number of credits and academic skill level at the time you enroll.


What is the difference between a high school diploma and GED?

The GED is a total of 4 tests that cover the topics of mathematics, social studies, science, and reasoning through language arts.

Both will qualify you to attend college and trade schools or join the military.

There are a few things to consider when deciding between a High School Diploma and GED, such as the length of time to complete, long term goals, and pre-placement test scores.

Participants are the best at determining their own educational path. Applicants should speak to YouthBuild Austin and Goodwill Excel staff to determine the best course of action to meet their goals.


Why does the application ask about justice involvement?

YouthBuild Austin’s New Start initiative is committed to supporting youth who have had experience in the criminal justice system. Applicants with violent felonies convictions on a case by case basis.


Can I do more than one training track at a time?

Participants will choose one training track. Once they have received their trade certification they can move on to another.


What does the day look like?

Half of the day is spent in high school diploma or GED classes, while the other half of the day is spent learning a trade, combining certification classes with hands-on training.


What is the schedule?

Monday-Thursday | 8:00am – 4:30pm
Friday | 8:00am – 12:00pm


Is housing provided?

YouthBuild Austin does not provide housing for participants.


Am I required to have a state issued ID?

Yes, participants are either required to have a state issued ID or a passport. A birth certificate and social security card are required as well.


Do I have to be a US citizen?

No, but you must have right to work documentation.