Press Releases

Council approves funding agreement for youth workforce development program

PRESS RELEASE                                                       Tuesday April 2, 2019 

Contact: Cody Owens 

Phone: 205-254-2036 

Cell: 205-317-1121


BIRMINGHAM, AL – On Tuesday the Birmingham City Council approved a $15,000 funding agreement with Build UP, the first of its kind workforce development program based in Ensley.

According to Mark Martin, Build UP’s founder and CEO, the goal is to teach Birmingham’s youth skills that will enable them to build, repair and maintain homes. More importantly, they’re fixing dilapidated homes in the very neighborhoods they live in.

Here is a breakdown of the programing from the Build UP website:

​“Over the course of six years (following the 8th grade), students participate in a full-time program that takes the place of high school and college. They spend half of their time in an academic setting-gaining knowledge that is directly applicable to their paid apprenticeships in the real estate and construction sectors. Additionally, Build UP apprentices work together to rehab blighted, abandoned homes into like-new duplexes. During the course of their six-year program, students earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in their chosen field.

“Once students complete the Build UP program and either secure a high-wage job, launch their own enterprise, or continue their education at a university, our graduates take over the deeds to the properties they renovated as part of their training. In one fell swoop, they become both homeowners and landlords. Through zero-interest mortgages, graduates build wealth because 100% of each payment contributes to principal and equity. They also earn a passive income through their rental properties.”

Councilor John Hilliard, who visited a Build UP site where students were rehabbing a home last summer, said he was blown away by how engaged the students were. “The impact will be humongous,” Hilliard said. “District 9 still hasn’t fully recovered from the 2011 tornadoes. The skill set these kids are learning is greatly needed… My first time coming out with them they were renovating a house. Now they’re removing tree stumps and learning how to safely use these tools. These are important things that will give these kids a skill set they can use for a career.”

For more information contact Cody Owens, Public Information Officer for the Birmingham City Council at 205.254.2294.