A ribbon cutting ceremony at the Home Builders Institute (HBI) construction trades training facility near Fort Campbell in Clarksville, Tenn., officially launched the new hub for transitioning service members. HBI Senior Vice President of Workforce Development Tadar Muhammad, Fort Campbell SFL-TAP Coordinator Teresa English, and Clarksville Ward 12 City Councilman Jeff Burkhart, a Clarksville native, local builder/developer and past president of both the Clarksville Home Builders Association
and the Home Builders Association of Tennessee
, led the late November event.
Also in attendance were Mario Gonzalez, regional career development coordinator, and Brandon Dunnam, a carpentry instructor, as well as three students expected to graduate from the off-base career center in the next month. The center began enrolling students in summer 2019, and five of 14 enrollees have graduated to date.
[caption id="attachment_16828" align="alignright" width="300"] HBI student and E-4 Specialist Larry Elliott speaks at the November ribbon cutting ceremony in Clarksville, Tenn.[/caption]
E-4 Specialist Larry Elliott enlisted in the Army three years ago when he found out he was going to have a daughter. He intends to remain in his hometown of Lexington, Ky., after completing his apprenticeship and being placed in a commercial construction job. Elliot told attendees he plans to work for himself as a residential carpenter and aims to build his own house and help his neighbors with his skills and services. He appreciates the hands-on, "by the book," industry-recognized training and career mentorship that sets the HBI program apart.
E-5 Sergeant Korrine Burns intends to return to her hometown of Davenport, Iowa, after transitioning from the Army. Burns enlisted in the military with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a real estate license. She earned her master’s in Supply Chain Management for aeronautics. In addition to carpentry, Burns is also receiving her OSHA-10 and OSHA-30 certifications, and her Six-Sigma Greenbelt. With her education and skills, Burns said she intends to own her own business flipping houses, and says that this opportunity provides her with the ability to both renovate the properties and sell them herself. She’s looking forward to taking what her father has done as a hobby and to working alongside him full time.
HBI student E-9 Sergeant Major Jose Salas plans to remain in Clarkesville after leaving the military. He joined the service at age 18, and unlike most of HBI's transitioning military students, he’ll be graduating after qualifying for retirement. Salas said he is interested in building upon his experience with a home-inspecting course and a goal of using his skills and military Medical Corps management to find a project manager position. He was especially encouraged by the program’s non-use of the G.I. Bill benefits. The father of three and grandfather of six, affectionately nicknamed the "old man" of the class, Salas said he appreciates the hands-on learning experience in all the trades.
The HBI Military and Veterans Program was established in 2012 to empower transitioning service members and veterans with job readiness and career connections through Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT).
The combination of academic learning and hands-on experience means graduates emerge from the program highly skilled and certified in brick masonry, carpentry, electrical wiring, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, solar installation, weatherization, landscaping, painting, or building construction technology.
The Tennessee facility, located along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, opened with support from the Home Depot Foundation and Fort Campbell’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. As with other HBI Military and Veterans Programs, students – active duty service members within six months of separation – are uniquely supported at every stage of the employment sequence. They are successfully connected, assessed, trained, certified, and placed in high-growth construction careers then charted for progress for a minimum of one year following job placement.
In 2018, HBI received a $50 million grant
from the Home Depot Foundation to help train 20,000 new skilled workers over the next 10 years and increase the number of workers trained through HBI curriculum to help address the industry’s labor shortage. It aims to help the 200,000 service members separating from the military every year.
The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills.
Learn more about HBI’s training programs at hbi.org