Home Building: It's Hot! the National Association of Home Builders Has This Message for Those Seeking a Good Career: "Make It Happen. Make It Real. Make It Work. Make It Pay. Make It Yours with Residential Construction!"

Article excerpt

Do you have the right stuff?. It's a question being asked by many residential construction industry employers. The residential construction industry is a vital sector in virtually every local and state economy, creating jobs and generating taxes and wages. Think about it--the construction of 1,000 single-family homes generates 2,448 jobs in construction and construction-related industries; approximately $79.4 million in wages; and more than $42.5 million in federal, state and local tax revenues and fees. Residential construction is a great place to work!

Residential construction, like much of today's job market, requires individuals entering the industry to have a more advanced analytical reasoning ability and a broader skill base. There are more than 100 career opportunities in the industry. This includes options for those pursuing skilled trades, and technical and professional positions. Home Builders Institute (HBI) is all about making sure this "new breed" of 21st century employees comes into the industry with the right stuff.

HBI at Work

As the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), HBI has a 30-year history in trades training. This includes operating skilled trades programs on 67 Job Corps campuses as well as similar training for more specialized youth and adult audiences.

"There is an abundance of career choices in the home building industry," notes Steve Kramer, vice president of HBI's Residential Construction Academy. "Our job at HBI is to let people know that they can chart a long and potentially prosperous career with the industry, whether they are just entering the workforce or a career changer."

With the aid of a grant recently received from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative, HBI is developing models using industry-education-community partnerships to create a tightly knit system from middle/high school to community college.

The model sites now include ten locations in Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, California, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.

Partnerships for the program model are formed at the local level, consisting of school districts, community colleges, the home builder association, and the workforce investment board. Drawing on this partnership concept generates positive outcomes for program participants. Eventually, the 10 national sites will serve 2,500 individuals, including high school students, incumbent and dislocated workers.

"This grant will unify and connect a solid high school residential construction academy with the college routes for both apprentice ships and college degrees," says Jim Lewis, superintendent of the Blaine County School District in Idaho.

Armed with knowledge and skills based on national standards for the industry that reflect industry skill requirements, participants will be offered training in crafts such as carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning.

"There is definitely a shortage in the construction trades, and this grant is an excellent catalyst to mobilize local to address it," says Robert Barber from South Carolina.

Barber is a member of the council of governments and the new program's advisory board. HBI and its partners will also develop an associate's degree or equivalent credential that incorporates the skills needed in residential construction.

New Curriculum

HBI also developed, in partnership with Thomson Delmar Learning, a home building industry-specific trades curriculum titled the "Residential Construction Academy Series. …