RUPCO and LYNC Secure $1 Million to Launch Newburgh YouthBuild

September 7, 2021

Community Partners Aim to Create a Pipeline of Affordable Housing and Jobs

Newburgh, NY—The U.S. Department of Labor announced that RUPCO will receive a $1 million grant to administer YouthBuild, a pre-apprenticeship training program that prepares students for careers in carpentry, construction trades and nursing. YouthBuild will be implemented by LYNC Community Foundation, RUPCO’s partner in Newburgh, who also operates the Highpoint campus on Liberty Street currently under development. The grant is one of just four awarded in New York state this year, and the only awarded to a group in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Newburgh YouthBuild will be the first of its kind to provide participants with on-site childcare.

RUPCO and LYNC joined forces four years ago with the goal of sparking community-led solutions that tackle the City’s employment, economic development, and affordable housing needs. YouthBuild will do just that by providing students with an opportunity to learn a trade and earn professional certifications that help them launch meaningful careers, all while playing a vital role in revitalizing their own communities.

Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO’s Chief Executive Officer: “We are honored to continue the legacy of YouthBuild, a program that was founded by a woman (Dorothy Stoneman) in Harlem to help break the cycle of homelessness by enlisting youth within the community to build affordable housing for the community. We hope that our partnership with LYNC to bring YouthBuild to Newburgh will serve as a model for the region.

Newburgh YouthBuild is unique in that it goes far beyond the baseline workforce development charge of the program to offer holistic learning and personal support services for participants.

Melanie Collins, president of LYNC: “What we know to be true is that underserved Newburgh residents, especially Black women and girls, need more than training programs to set them up for success. Family security and peace of mind play a huge role in readiness to learn and the ability to thrive. That’s why we center access to affordable childcare as a key supplemental service to the program. So mothers can relax into the training knowing that their children are cared for. When we nurture and lift up girls and women and their families, we lift the entire community.”

While YouthBuild is open to everyone, Ms. Collins also sees this an opportunity to encourage women to pursue careers in the male-dominated construction fields:

Ms. Collins: “Newburgh YouthBuild teaches students more than how to wield a hammer. Thanks to RUPCO we are able to provide exposure to architecture, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, and tenant relations–fields that are largely led by men. Our mission is to inspire 2 women and girls to become leaders in these male-dominated industries. Our vision is that YouthBuild Newburgh students will go on to launch their own businesses in these fields and ultimately own and operate construction and development companies that reflect the diversity of our region.”

About the Newburgh YouthBuild Program Newburgh YouthBuild will provide high school equivalency and construction trades training to 50 underserved youth ages 16-24 from the city of Newburgh, NY. This training includes but is not limited to OSHA 10 and NCCER credentialing, and provides experiential learning building affordable housing for Newburgh residents.

In addition, Newburgh YouthBuild will offer a dual enrollment health care track providing Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) training and certification to 10 out of school youth in partnership with Orange-Ulster BOCES, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and Woodland Pond CCRC.

Newburgh YouthBuild will also facilitate an employment pipeline for participants and assist students with job placement for up to twelve months post-program.



RUPCO creates homes, supports people, and improves communities across a broad spectrum of community development solutions, including housing, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization in the Hudson Valley. RUPCO creates and maintains quality, sustainable housing and rental opportunities, inspires understanding and acceptance of affordable housing initiatives, and champions pathways to opportunity. For more information, visit

ABOUT LYNC Community Foundation

LYNC catalyzes capital and community to expand economic, educational, and cultural opportunities for Black women and girls. LYNC advised on the design & planning of the Newburgh YouthBuild program and, as program implementer will manage the day-to-day, assist with recruiting and mentoring, and provide supplemental resources to YouthBuild participants. LYNC’s founder and president Melanie Collins has a long track-record as Newburgh’s community connector, and recently received the NY State Senate Commendation Award for spearheading the Newburgh Mutual Aid relief program which has delivered over a million tons of healthy food to families in need throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

ABOUT Highpoint

The former First United Methodist Church on Liberty Street is being restored into a 17,000 square foot community and culture hub in the heart of Newburgh now called Highpoint. Part of the $30 million Newburgh Progress development project led by RUPCO and operated by LYNC Community Foundation, Highpoint will be home to a host of community organizations, training programs, and minority and women-led social enterprises. Set to open in early 2022, Highpoint is where members of the Newburgh community link, learn, and launch meaningful careers.