Thunderbird Charities Grants Friendly House $100K to Support YouthBuild Education and Workforce Program

Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community - is awarding $100,000 to Friendly House to support its occupational training workforce readiness program, YouthBuild. The Thunderbirds Charities grant will help expand the program to about 100 participants per year composed of “opportunity youth,” 16 to 24-year olds who are unemployed and not in school, in the target areas of Phoenix and Glendale.


“We are happy to assist in their workforce readiness program, YouthBuild,” said Carlos Sugich, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “Friendly House is making a true difference in the lives of these individuals they are serving.”

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YouthBuild offers students a chance to pursue a General Equivalency High School Diploma (GED) or entry-level vocational training in the construction industry, currently covering the basics of electrical and carpentry. Students receive hands-on occupational training from experienced, industry certified instructors and have the opportunity to earn their construction certificates from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) on Fundamentals of Construction Core Curriculum, where they cover safety, construction math, hand tools and power tools, drawings, communication skills, material handling, and overall employability skills. Participants also receive OSHA-10.

“Friendly House is proud to receive this very generous grant support from Thunderbirds Charities,” said Martin Quintana, Friendly House President/CEO. “Ensuring that our youth finish school and earn gainful employment at this critical time in their lives is a major priority for us and vital to the future of the communities we serve in Maricopa County.”

Maricopa County has an estimated 73,000 youth ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or working; 14.5 percent of youth countywide are not in school and working, as compared to 12.3 percent nationally. Arizona is also experiencing a severe shortage of trained construction workers.


Workers trained in construction-related fields earn median range earnings of $47,000 a year, allowing them to move towards self-sufficiency and economic independence. About 75 percent YouthBuild Receives $100K Grant Page 2 of the participants in YouthBuild complete the program and at least 60 percent of those who finish the program find work in the field.