New Training Center Prepares Students For Skilled Trades

Workforce Development

The Home Builders Institute (HBI) opened a new Orlando-based facility for training individuals for jobs in construction. The BuildStrong Academy of Orlando will train and place area students who want to pursue careers in the skilled trades for the building industry. Funded by The Home Depot Foundation, along with other private, public, and nonprofit sector partners, the program will be free to trainees.

“As openings in construction jobs increase and people are rethinking their careers, the times demand that we take an inventive approach to creating the skilled workers so badly needed in the building industry,” said Ed Brady, HBI president and CEO, at the grand opening ceremony. “Students at the BuildStrong Academy of Orlando will be exposed to the full spectrum of their opportunities in the construction trades.”

Officials expect the training center to serve approximately 500 new trainees by year-end 2022. The training program guides participants through a step-by-step process designed to take them from beginners, with little-to-no trade skills, to tradespeople who are sought after by employers. Instructors will use HBI’s industry-recognized curriculum, which is one of only three pre-apprenticeship programs recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Orlando’s new BuildStrong Academy opens up the world of great jobs and careers in construction to anyone who wants to work hard and be part of an extraordinary industry,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.

In advance of the grand opening, the center trained its first class of students who graduated earlier this month. In June, they began a two-week, orientation session called the “residential introductory series.” Once completed, they were able to progress to four weeks of skills training that resulted in an industry-recognized certification as a pre-apprentice. If they choose, the students could then enter a six-week-long program to be trained in carpentry skills.

The effort comes at a critical time. Every month this year, the construction industry has been short approximately 300,000 to 400,000 skilled workers, based on NAHB analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Yet only a small percentage of young adults are pursuing careers in construction, Brady said.

For more information on the BuildStrong Academy of Orlando visit

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