Innovative Idea

Increasing Housing Supply Through an Integrated Education Program

Dr. Mark W. C. Martin
Build UP
Birmingham, Alabama

Build UP is a workforce development program that prepares at-risk, low-income young people for paid apprenticeships in real estate and construction. Build UP apprentices will add to the local affordable housing stock by rehabilitating abandoned homes, blighted properties, and relocated donated homes that would otherwise be demolished, creating affordable and sustainable homeownership options. Upon graduating from the six-year program, students will have earned both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, and they will receive the deeds for two rehabbed properties – one to own and one to rent to a low-income family as a supplemental source of income.

Through the workforce development program, graduates will enter the labor market highly trained and credentialed. This project will help revitalize communities and increase affordable housing supply, all while preparing students for careers and giving graduates an opportunity to own a home in the communities they serve.

Can a workforce training program for high school students increase the supply of affordable housing and provide better employment outcomes?

Dr. Mark W. C. Martin
Dr. Mark W. C. Martin, CEO of Build UP, leads the nation’s first early-college workforce development high school to comprehensively address poverty in underserved communities, empowering youth to become educated, career-ready homeowners and landlords. He most recently worked with Jobs For the Future and the Alabama State Department of Education on education-to-career transitions and workforce readiness, focusing on youth apprenticeships and the Swiss dual-education model. Follow Build UP on social @Buildupwork.

Build UP

Build UP is the nation’s first workforce development high school to address poverty in underserved communities, empowering youth to become educated, career-ready homeowners and landlords. Build UP’s mission is to empower youth, families, and communities to lift themselves out of poverty and lead self-sufficient lives. The organization equips youth with the tools to acquire a self-directed, career-focused education, gain knowledge and skills in a high-demand field, and own homes and rental property to build wealth and earn income.