YouthBuild Rockford


Brief History

Comprehensive Community Solutions, Inc. (CCS) began in 1992 as a community-based program founded by a probation officer who felt as though the system was letting young people down. Starting out providing services to youth in the criminal justice system, CCS quickly morphed into a multi-faceted nonprofit organization with a mission that includes three major areas: Workforce Development; Affordable Housing Development, and meaningful Community Engagement. Through this mission, CCS has served out-of-school and at-risk youth through its established Pre-Apprenticeship employment program called YouthBuild Rockford since 1994.

Mission Statement and/or Core Values

Comprehensive Community Solutions, Inc. is an organization that drives fundamental transformation of neighborhoods, communities, and the circumstances of those who reside there through facilitation of workforce development that leads to a sustainable wage, meaningful community engagement and affordable housing.

Partnership— Participating in the collective efforts of the entire community through communication, collaboration, and teamwork to drive fundamental transformation.

Respect— Showing value for our customers, partners, and each other by acknowledging the potential to achieve and maintaining an attitude of empathy.

Accountability— Owning our ability to determine our outcomes and accepting our responsibility to be impactful.

Intentional Growth— Being strategic about our choices, innovative in our efforts, and mission-driven in actions.

Curiosity— Driven by a desire to better understand our customers, partners, and each other so that we are open minded in our service.

Leadership & Service— Taking an active role in developing, implementing, and sustaining a solution(s) to opportunities within our reach.

Student Demographics

CCS has traditionally served youth 16-24, who have significant  educational or employment deficits and who meet the Department of Labor’s eligibility  criteria, especially those who are low-income, high school dropouts (at least 75% over a  26 yr. period), youth offenders, unemployed and live in the target area of Rockford, IL. 


CCS’s YouthBuild Rockford program has enrolled over 1,055 at-risk youth, exceeding its enrollment rate at 106%, due to receiving over 6,000 applications over the years. The youth enrolled in YouthBuild Rockford have been 79% minority, 88% low-income, 53% have had criminal records, and 97% have been high school dropouts. 80% of the youth enrolled in YouthBuild Rockford were placed in employment and/or post-secondary education by the time the completed the program and 69% retained that placement for at least a year.

Programs Offered

  • YouthBuild Rockford: YouthBuild is a unique program serving out of school youth  ages 16-24 who are from low-income communities, have left school and are  unemployed. It provides academic education, vocational skills training, personal  counseling, positive peer support, leadership development, job placement and  follow-up support. Young people spend half their time in academic programming  and the other half learning skills in construction. Participants build or rehabilitate  housing for low-income families and have produced 45 units of affordable  housing in Rockford since the program began. Since 1994, YouthBuild Rockford  has seen over 6,000 youth apply, and has served more than 1,000 young people.  80% of program completers have been placed in jobs or educational programs,  and youth have completed over 510,000 hours of community service. YouthBuild.
  • USA AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps is a national service movement that engages  Americans of all ages in a domestic “Peace Corps” to get things done in our  local communities. As part of a national service movement overseen by the  Corporation for National Service and YouthBuild USA, AmeriCorps members  commit to a term of community service and upon completion they earn an  education award which can be used to pay for college or vocational training.  CCS has operated this program since 1996, and since then member have  completed over 510,000 hours of community service.  
  • YouthBuild USA Mentoring: YouthBuild USA Mentoring is a national movement  designed to get professional connected to YouthBuild participants to be career  coaches and advocates that help them stay focused and committed to their  goals. CCS has successfully operated this program since 2010.  
  • RockForWork: The Illinois Youth Investment Program (IYIP), formerly known as  Community Youth Employment Program, is a multi-faceted approach to youth  employment that invests in the future of Illinois’ at-risk transition-age youth (16- 24).  This approach to youth employment accounts for the youth’s employment  barriers as well as the physical, emotional, social, and mental health needs while  helping them to secure and sustain long-term and/or career employment  thereby ensuring a greater likelihood of success and self-sufficiency. This program  was established in 2020 at CCS.  
  • ALPHA: ALPHA is a youth development/violence prevention program that is  funded by the Illinois Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program, which was  created as a key equity element of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA).  ALPHA aligns with the City of Rockford, Alignment Rockford, the Rockford Park  District, and Rockford Public Schools Live, Learn, Play Universal Goal number 4:  Increase the district graduation rate and freshman on-track rate to 75% by 2024.  This goal of ALPHA is achieved by helping youth graduate high school by  providing them with a safe and friendly learning environment that provides help  with tutoring and homework, builds character, enhances positive thinking and  self-respect while they learn discipline and dedication, self-control, problem  solving, strategic thinking, and proper exercise and nutrition to build a healthy  lifestyle and be excited about school. This program was established in 2021 at  CCS. 

Career Pathways

  • Construction 
  • Welding 
  • Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) 
  • Trade
  • Culinary Arts (Coming Soon)

Success Story

CCS had a young Hispanic male enroll in our YouthBuild Rockford program in 2020 who was a court involved youth. He was a high school dropout and not sure what his future was when he first enrolled. This young man graduated from the YouthBuild Rockford program and became an AmeriCorps member at the agency acting as an apprentice in our construction department in 2021. Today he is a full apprentice employed by CCS as a Construction assistant in our YouthBuild Rockford program. To date he has built two units of low-income housing, been responsible for maintaining two maintenance contracts with housing partners and continues to build his skills working side by side with Journeymen Carpenters.


    • Executive Director/CEO: William Chatman 
    • Director of Programs: Joshua Patterson 
    • Director of Workforce Development: Claudia Consuelos 
    • Fiscal Manager: Pam Arnold