HBA Empowers Construction Students to Strive for Success

Workforce Development
Contact: Greg Zick
AVP, Workforce Development
(202) 266-8493

Throughout Careers and Technical Education Month® in February, NAHB will be featuring inspiring workforce development stories from members, HBAs, students and technical education faculty.

In the gymnasium at Shelby County High School (SCHS), in rural Shelbyville, Ky., hang banners honoring champion athletic teams and one other student organization — the first place team in the 2019 NAHB Secondary Schools Construction Management Competition.

The SCHS team participated in the 2023 NAHB Student Competition at the International Builders’ Show and placed third in the Secondary Programs - Construction Management track. The annual NAHB Student Competition is one of the highlights of IBS. The competition allows students to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction company by completing a management project/proposal.

The Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville generously supports the team’s travel to IBS.

“The BIA of Greater Louisville has long supported the Shelby County student chapter,” said Juva Barber, EVP, BIA of Louisville. “Our members are proud of all the successes the student chapter has achieved. These students know that they have the support of all the members of the BIA now and in the future.” 

The students meet one evening a week for four hours with Perry Lyons, president of P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders, and Walt Wilson, who coaches the team, to learn subjects not covered in class, and prepare for the competition and future careers.

Wilson is in his 18th year teaching construction classes at SCHS. He began his career as a union carpenter, later became a general foreman for Philip Morris and earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the latter in education. Wilson retired at 50 and built houses again until a school administrator he knew asked if he would come to teach high school. “Do I look like I’ve lost my mind?” was his initial response, but he eventually agreed.

Over the years, he has seen a steady interest in building trades from students, usually around 30 inquiring freshmen, thinning to perhaps half that number by senior year. On the other hand, employer demand for reliable workers has increased and often exceeds the supply.

For Wilson, reaching difficult students and seeing them graduate and eventually become productive citizens working in the building trades is “the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”

Visit the Student Competition page for more information.

Sponsored by:

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