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HEART Partnership is a hands-on learning experience for youth and adults to achieve their goals. HEART empowers all individuals to accomplish their objectives of graduation, career training, connections to post-secondary education, and/or workforce development.

Meet Shawn

“By his first semester of his sophomore year, he became very discouraged. And I became scared he would drop out of school,” said his mom, Shelly Klinkhammer, of Dubuque. “We knew he was never going to go on to college, but he needed to develop some kind of skillset to make him employable for the future.”


HEART Building Futures is a public/private partnership. It is an authentic hands-on learning experience for high school students to achieve their goals of attaining a high school diploma, while transforming Dubuque’s most blighted neighborhood back into a livable, walkable community for working families. Students in HEART Building Futures spend part of their day in the classroom and part of their day on a home restoration site where they work with a 3 to 1 student/staff ratio, learn basics of construction, soft skills, critical thinking skills, and are connected to post high school education, training opportunities, or employment.

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Meet Makaila

“I have been able to work and talk with people from all over the country. My landscaping and maintenance experience has taught me so many things about maintaining a home that I will use for the rest of my life.”


HEART Building Dubuque is building workforce development and economic vibrancy by replicating the successful HEART Youth model. Expanded programming serves adults with barriers to employment. Our construction and cabinetry pathways empower participants to take part in projects that revitalize and invest in our urban core through gut-rehabilitation and restoration projects. Our Transitional Employment Pathway provides training and guidance in career and life planning, while helping participants build a diverse and transferrable skillset in maintenance, groundskeeping, hospitality, and more, on the Four Mounds site.


by the numbers


The graduation rate for students in HEART Building Futures is 91% as opposed to the national graduation rate for youth with disabilities, which hovers around 65% (McFarland et al., 2018).


HEART students have completed more than 50 community service projects–many for City parks or community nonprofits.


The graduation rate for students in HEART Building Dubuque is 92%.


HEART Building Futures students have completed over 40 home renovations in Dubuque’s vulnerable north-end neighborhoods


We are proud to have invested $2.5 million into Dubuque’s urban core.


HEART Building Dubuque—Construction & Cabinetry students on average enter the program with an annual income of $13,700. Upon completion, and employment in entry level positions, their average annual income increases to $38,000 per year. That is an increase of over 277%!

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