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Saint-Gobain to Support Construction of YouthBuild School in South Africa

Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, announces today the next phase of its partnership with YouthBuild USA, Inc. will be an expansion internationally to support the creation of a YouthBuild school in South Africa and an extension of its current national partnership via a three-year, $600,000 grant.

The latter will continue to support YouthBuild USA’s Green Initiative Program, a sustainable building and job training program for disadvantaged youth, as well as YouthBuild programs in four communities where Saint-Gobain has business concentrations, including: Philadelphia, Pa., Worcester, Mass., Schenectady, N.Y., and Canton, Ohio.

“Due to the success of the Saint-Gobain-YouthBuild partnership in educating future generations and preparing them for sustainable careers in the green building industry and other high-demand careers, we have our sights set on replicating our U.S. partnership in South Africa,” said Dorothy Stoneman, Founder and CEO of YouthBuild USA, Inc. “In YouthBuild’s 37-year history, we’ve never had a partner like Saint-Gobain that not only shares our passion for green building and our students’ education and career development, but that also has donated energy-efficient building products and provided technical expertise. The impact the partnership has had on transforming the lives of YouthBuild students is immeasurable, and we cannot wait to take our partnership to the next level.”

In South Africa, Saint-Gobain operates an accredited training program that prepares disadvantaged youth for work in the construction industry. Leveraging this existing training program, Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild International, a division of YouthBuild USA, Inc., will work together to open a YouthBuild school in Samrand, South Africa, (approximately 20 minutes from Johannesburg). Saint-Gobain will provide a training facility, trainers and building materials to support the South African initiative. Students will receive in-classroom and hands-on training through community improvement projects where students will get the opportunity to work alongside Saint-Gobain building scientists who will showcase sustainable building techniques and products. Initially, the program will serve 50 disadvantaged youth.

“Together, Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild International see an opportunity to help address unemployment and the need for affordable and sustainable housing in South Africa,” said Peter Hindle, MBE, Senior Vice President and General Delegate of Saint-Gobain United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. “Joining forces in South Africa through Saint-Gobain’s accredited training academy, we can continue improving the lives of young people and their communities through job training, sustainable building, employee engagement and youth mobilization.”

Through the partnership in the United States, former out-of-school youth have been given the opportunity to build energy-efficient homes in their neighborhoods while earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. Each of the four YouthBuild programs that are part of the partnership with Saint-Gobain will receive a portion of the $600,000 in the form of pass-through grants over the course of three years. Saint-Gobain’s support of the YouthBuild USA affiliate in Canton, Ohio, replaces its previous support of a discontinued program in Akron. The extended partnership will make it possible for the following activities over the next three years:

  • YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School will complete two projects that are already underway at 2006 and 2007 Wingohocking Street in Philadelphia, launch a renovation of the school’s Community Celebration Room and identify a third project;
  • YouthBuild Schenectady (operated by Social Enterprise and Training Center) will identify and complete a second project;
  • YouthBuild Worcester (operated by Training Resources of America, Inc.) will identify and complete a third project;
  • YouthBuild Canton (operated by Project REBUILD) will identify and complete its first project; and lastly,
  • YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain will continue implementation of the “Scientists in the Classroom” program that leverages Saint-Gobain scientists and engineers to expose students to curriculum and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

This latest financial commitment brings the total funding donated to YouthBuild USA, Inc. from Saint-Gobain to $1.3 million over the course of seven years (2010-17). Since the program’s inception in 2010, Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild USA have completed three U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certified homes. Now in the partnership’s fifth year, the program has impacted more than 1,050 YouthBuild students nationwide.

In addition to the pass-through grants, each program will continue to receive donated building products from nine different Saint-Gobain businesses, including its building materials subsidiary and primary in-kind donator CertainTeed, which has helped YouthBuild to achieve energy-efficiency, sustainability and affordability goals, enhance the indoor environmental quality of each home and ensure projects are both sustainable and aesthetic. Additionally, Saint-Gobain employees will continue to volunteer with the students to complete the building and renovation projects, as well as participate in special educational events, known as design charrettes, to ensure the students have the knowledge to build the most sustainable projects possible.

“We’ve demonstrated in the United States that the Saint-Gobain/YouthBuild partnership can provide youth with the building blocks they need for careers in the construction industry,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “We are excited to enter the next phase of that partnership in the United States and South Africa and know from experience that our employees’ lives will be changed just as much as the lives of the young people who participate in this partnership.”

About the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation

The Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation is committed to putting the power of its people and its products into the communities in which its employees live and work. The Foundation believes Saint-Gobain can do well by doing good – and supporting non-profits that share a commitment to community development, energy conservation and environmental stewardship is central to that belief. Programs such as YouthBuild that engage youth and communities in green building and renovation align closely with Saint-Gobain’s mission to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, cost-efficient and durable buildings. Through the Foundation’s support, Saint-Gobain is helping educate future generations about sustainable building and environmental preservation through its own example. For more information about Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation’s partnership with YouthBuild USA, visit:


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