Build UP: Education, Stabilization, REVITALIZATION
Students gain the tools necessary to lead successful lives, such as job-ready skills, leadership training, a high school diploma and an associates degree.
Families have access to affordable, stable housing they can take pride in and even rent to earn a passive income and build wealth.
Stable leadership and improved economic status empowers students and their families to lead a long-term revitalization of their community.
Build UP is the nation’s first and only workforce development model that provides low-income youth career-ready skills through paid apprenticeships with industry-aligned secondary and early-postsecondary academic coursework, leading them to become educated, credentialed, and empowered civic leaders, professionals, and homeowners.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- MARGARET MEAD
Originally located in Ensley in 2018 and recently relocated to Titusville. Build UP Birmingham is the nation’s first and only workforce development model that provides low-income youth career-ready skills through paid apprenticeships with industry-aligned secondary and early-postsecondary academic coursework.
MEET THE FOUNDER
Mark Martin returned home to Alabama after nearly 15 years away to launch Build UP, as an innovative early-college workforce development high school program that comprehensively addresses poverty and urban blight. He most recently graduated Harvard’s Doctor of Education Leadership program where he worked with Jobs For the Future (JFF) and the Alabama State Department of Education on education-to-career transitions and workforce readiness.
Mark previously served as the School Director at Langston Hughes Academy, a preK-8 public charter school he co-founded in 2007. Under his leadership, the school achieved six consecutive years of academic growth, piloted the state’s “Diverse Delivery” early childhood education initiative, and built New Orleans’ first post-Katrina school facility, a $32mm project. He was a founding Board Member of THRIVE, Louisiana’s first public urban residential school, which posted the highest one-year academic gains in state history.
Investing 15+ years educating children in poverty, Mark began his career with Teach For America in Atlanta’s Woodson Elementary, where he was honored as the Employee of the Year and as West Atlanta’s Cub Scouter of the Year after founding Troop 351. Mark has served on Advisory Boards for the University of Alabama’s Blackburn Institute, University of New Orleans College of Education, and Christian Active Parenting. He has led and served on mission trips to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Swaziland, Africa; and Katrina Relief in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mark graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Finance from the University of Alabama and earned an MBA from the University of Georgia. Mark and his wife Tiffany have two children, Marilee and Rhett.