Saint Gobain and YouthBuild Schenectady to Rehab 706. Vale Place.

Schenectady is a city riddled with old and vacant homes that are left abandoned for years with little hope to be restored. Thanks to the SEAT Center, their program YouthBuild Schenectady, the City of Schenectady and Saint Gobain, they are hitting two birds with one stone. They have taken the house at 706 Vale Place, which has been vacant for years and have decided to restore it. Not only does this help to improve the local community, it also provides the YouthBuild Schenectady students with hands on construction training opportunities.

YouthBuild Schenectady graduate Yusuf Criss gave an empowering speech about how he overcame the troubles of his past. Having spent 3 1/2 years in jail after getting into trouble at the age of 16, he realized that it was now or never and he had to turn his life around. Mayor Gary McCarthy alongside Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara came to witness the unveiling of the project and to show their support for the students.

YouthBuild Schenectady graduate Yusuf Criss gave an empowering speech about how he overcame the troubles of his past. Having spent 3 1/2 years in jail after getting into trouble at the age of 16, he realized that it was now or never and he had to turn his life around. Mayor Gary McCarthy alongside Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara came to witness the unveiling of the project and to show their support for the students.

Brad Johnson, Vice President, Abrasives North America and Automotive Aftermarket worldwide, at Saint-Gobain, gives speech on behalf of the “hard work and dedication” YouthBuild Schenectady Students have demonstrated while building their lives and their futures.

Check it out!

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It’s All About the Green!

YouthBuild Philly and CertainTeed insulation came together with the same goal – to make the 2006 & 2008 W. Wingohocking Street properties the two most sustainable and energy efficient homes they can be.

To make this goal a reality, CertainTeed insulation is partnering with YouthBuild Philly to develop the next generation of green construction contractors by providing hands-on insulation installation training using the best in class energy efficient insulation material provided by CertainTeed.

West Chester Insulation, a long time contractor of CertainTeed insulation, was also on site to support the students and participate in the install.

Through the Saint-Gobain Foundation partnership with YouthBuild,  three types of  insulation were donated and installed on the two homes, by CertainTeed, West Chester Insulation and YouthBuild students by using a hybrid system that included:

CertainTeed insulation plans to develop the next generation of insulation contractors with YouthBuild in Philadelphia and in other regions.

We are truly building our future TOGETHER!

By working together we can build energy efficiency homes in our communities, protect our earth and ensure that life is preserved for the next generation to come.

For a recap of the day, check out the video below! Be sure to watch to the very end to hear an original rap created by YouthBuild students titled It’s All About the Green!


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YouthBuild Philly Update: Wingohocking Street is Near Completion!

YouthBuild Philly here, reporting live from the 215!   We’re excited to share  that the 2006 and 2008 W. Wingohocking street project  is wrapping up! We are getting closer and closer to completion and that LEED platinum status!

Here’s what we’ve been up to….

The plumbing and electrical systems are now installed.  Whew!

Next up is the duct board. If you guys remember from a previous post, YouthBuild Philly students participated in a duct board demonstration which took place at the Saint-Gobain Malvern Innovation Center.

CertainTeed provided the material and educated us on the value of installing duct board, which is not only to achieve LEED status, but also for the comfort of the new homeowners. Because of this product we are hoping to help the homeowners save money on their heating and air-conditioning bills.

We are so excited to finish these sustainable green homes for the Nicetown community.

Alright guys, enough of this. We’re getting back to work!

Check back soon to see what we’re up to next on Wingohocking Street!



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St. Louis YouthBuild: The Next Generation

For the first time, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed had the opportunity to partner with St. Louis and Columbia YouthBuild on an insulation and career development training program.

Representatives from Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed and Goley Insulation, Inc. provided a hands-on insulation training for 20 St. Louis and Columbia YouthBuild students in order to introduce energy efficiency and sustainability practices into a developing market for CertainTeed insulation installers.

The three-day training was designed to build a pipeline for the next generation of CertainTeed insulation installers. Not only did the students receive hands-on training, they were taught the skills needed to land a job in the industry.


Day one of the training students learned resume writing skills and practiced their interview skills during mock interview sessions with CertainTeed employees. 


During days 2 and 3, students worked with CertainTeed trainers and Goley, Inc. to install three types of CertainTeed insulation on a distressed home.

Once the training was complete, students received a certificate of completion and walked away with the confidence and hands-on experience  needed to land a job as an insulation installer.





Talk about a great opportunity for these young people. We congratulate you all on completing the training.

Readers, what advice would you give YouthBuild students in preparation for the job search?

Please let us know in the comments below!

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Raising the Roof, Literally!

A message from Project Rebuild:

Hi everyone! We are Project Rebuild. Saint-Gobain’s newest YouthBuild affiliate based in Canton, OH. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Saint-Gobain and its family of companies. We are hoping to make our first project LEED Platinum….that’s right, we’re going big or going home! Stay tuned for more on our project located on 1714 Frazer Ave NW, Canton, OH 44703.

Everybody on 3! 1…2…….3… YOUTHBUILD! 

-Project Rebuild

Now onto our regularly scheduled program…. 

When Project REBUILD in Canton, Ohio started thinking about a project as part of the Saint-Gobain  and YouthBuild partnership, we found a perfect one that included a natural skylight (or also known as a big ol’ hole in the roof).

After the initial demolition was complete, in early October we hosted our FIRST design charrette with partners, students, neighbors and community supporters.  After hearing from CertainTeed building scientist Lucas Hamilton, our LEED Rater and charrette facilitator Pam Pierce, led the group through the LEED checklist.

Our team is committed to working toward LEED platinum status!

A few weeks later AND lots of discussions later, it looks like the roof may be coming off and a new one going on.

A BIG thanks to CertainTeed for the donated roofing material. We can’t wait to raise da roof!

In the coming weeks, a group of us are going on a road trip to Washington, DC for the International Greenbuild conference to learn more about materials, green construction and energy efficient practices we can use for the project.

What should our students look forward to at the conference? Comment below!

Stay tuned for our next post!


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Saint-Gobain Announces Partnership Extension with YouthBuild U.S.A & Expansion to South Africa

Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild’s partnership has been extended AND expanded internationally, and we couldn’t be more excited! Saint-Gobain has expanded its partnership with YouthBuild USA, to South Africa and current national partnership through 2017.

To make this announcement, Saint-Gobain hosted a press conference at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Saint-Gobain CEO John Crowe, Global CEO Pierre Andre De Chalendar, Dorothy Stoneman, founder and CEO of YouthBuild and Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter joined together to make this exciting announcement to the press during Saint-Gobain’s 350th Anniversary.

John Crowe, Saint-Gobain General Delegate, Jerome Kinard, YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School graduate, Dorothy Stoneman, Founder and CEO of YouthBuild USA, Inc. and Pierre-André de Chalendar, Saint-Gobain Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes! You read that right!  Saint-Gobain celebrated its 350th anniversary this year. In fact, this press conference took place simultaneously during the company’s celebration at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (also known as the Oval,) where four ephemeral pavilions were located, and open to the public, celebrating Saint-Gobain’s past and look toward the future.

Check out the video below for a look at that spectacular event at the Oval.

Now back to business…

YouthBuild Philly graduate, Jerome Kinard,  spoke at the conference about his journey joining YouthBuild and where he is today, which is currently working in his field of choice after completing the YouthBuild program and graduating this past summer. Go Jerome!

Jerome Kinard speaking during the press conference

During his time at YouthBuild, Jerome worked side-by-side with Saint-Gobain employees and used CertainTeed material while reconstructing two vacant dilapidated homes on Wingohocking Street in Philadelphia. How about that for a resume update!

Mayor Michael Nutter speaking at the press conference

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also joined in on the fun and congratulated Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild on its partnership. Nutter advised us to keep up the good work and thanked us in supporting his efforts to rebuild the middle class in Philadelphia. That we will do Mr. Nutter!

This event allowed all of our YouthBuild partners to come together and celebrate the future of our partnership and the great activities to come in support of the generation of green builders.

YouthBuild partners from Schenectady, NY, Worcester, MA, Canton, OH and Philadelphia, PA.

Now, moving across borders…..

In South Africa, Saint-Gobain currently operates an accredited training program that prepares disadvantaged youth for work in the construction industry through Youthbuild. Leveraging this existing training program, Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild International, a division of YouthBuild USA, Inc., are working together to open the first ever YouthBuild school in Samrand, South Africa!

To start, this program will serve 50 youth by teaching them in-classroom and hands-on training, while working alongside our building scientists and learn about sustainable building techniques and products.

“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. And that is what we are doing.

Please stay tuned for more updates on our partnership with YouthBuild!

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Design meeting for new YouthBuild project in Schenectady

Saint-Gobain employees and YouthBuild Schenectady staff and students met with project partners recently for a design charrette to launch the start of YouthBuild’s new green building project in Schenectady, New York.


A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development.  It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.


To start the day, the students and staff took a visit to the site, just a few blocks away from the charrette, to see the home that will be renovated in the project.  Students explained the demolition process to the staff and what the obstacles were removing waste from the property.  The home had been vacant for several years and requires a lot of attention.


During the charrette, students learned about sustainable building practices and products through presentations from Lucas Hamilton, CertainTeed building scientist and charrette facilitator Tracie Hall, Executive Director of the New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

In the afternoon, students and staff broke up into groups to discuss design elements that would qualify the building for LEED certification based on the six-category rating system. Sections of the checklist included material and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation.

Work is expected to begin on the Schenectady project in the early fall.

For more photos of 706 Vale Place, check out the link below!




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