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TCNJ Bonner Community Partner, Isles YouthBuild Institute Receives $1M Grant

TRENTON, NJ – The Isles YouthBuild Institute (IYI) has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help the program in its mission of instilling “self-reliance through education” in program participants. IYI engages disconnected youth; many of whom have been involved with the juvenile justice system, some who have children, some who are homeless and others who have dropped out of traditional high schools, and helps them to work through life challenges while assisting them in meeting their educational and career goals. To learn more about the program, visit its website at

An article published by the Trenton TImes about the grant award can be found below.

Graduates of the Isles YouthBuild Institute celebrating with staff members.
Graduates of the Isles YouthBuild Institute celebrating with staff members.

Isles Inc. receives grant to fund Trenton YouthBuild program

By Alyssa Mease/The Times of Trenton 
on June 28, 2013 at 8:20 AM

TRENTON — Isles Inc., a group that tries to make the city more liveable and helps families improve their situations, was awarded more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to advance its program for helping high school dropouts develop construction skills.

The money will go toward Isles’ YouthBuild Institute, which helps youths between the ages of 16 and 24 earn their GED or high school diploma while working in the construction field building low-income housing, according to its website.

“The program is an extremely effective re-entry tool. The Isles Youthbuild Institute agenda will allow students to obtain hands-on opportunities by participating in neighborhood construction projects,” U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville) said yesterday in announcing the grant.

YouthBuild has been in Mercer County since 1996. The program works with children who have aged out of foster care, children who have been involved in criminal activity, and high school dropouts.

More than 700 students have graduated from the program. The grant will pay for 70 students to participate in YouthBuild, the release said.

“Having worked closely with Isles for over 30-years on numerous projects, including its effective YouthBuild program, I am confident funds expended on programs for at-risk youth will significantly improve the lives” of the students Smith said.

Nationally, $72 million in grants was awarded to 68 YouthBuild programs yesterday, according to the Department of Labor.

Isles will partner with The College of New Jersey, Mercer County Community College, the Trenton Board of Education, Habitat for Humanity, the Mercer County Workforce Investment Board and other nonprofits to provide students with job-readiness and placement training, the release said.

Contact Alyssa Mease at or (609) 989-5673.