Arizona Addresses Skilled Trades Shortage with New Academy

Workforce Development

Phoenix, like many cities across the country, is facing a severe skilled labor shortage. To help turn the tide, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona’s (HBACA) charitable arm, Home Builders Care (HBC) announced a grand opening of a Home Building Academy on Aug. 15. The new educational facility will serve as a residential construction skilled trades training center in Phoenix.

“In creating the Academy, we wanted to ensure that we removed as many obstacles to getting training and going to work in the residential construction industry as we could,” said HBC Board member Connie Wilhelm. “We want students who graduate on a Friday to be able to go to work the following Monday, that’s why we provide tools students need to go to work.”

At the Academy, students participate in a nine-week rapid worker training, resulting in industry-recognized certificates in either carpentry or electrical. The first four weeks of the training provide basic construction knowledge such as reading a tape measure, using hand and power tools, and safe work practices including an OSHA 10-hour certificate. The remaining five weeks are trade- specific training.

The Academy is tuition free for qualified students and students maintaining satisfactory academic progress will receive a weekly stipend for living expenses. In addition, successful graduates will leave with a set of tools, boots, work clothes, and personal protective equipment.

“One of the major challenges in the residential construction industry is the shortage of skilled workers,” said Brad Schoenberg, Chairman of the HBACA Board of Directors. “We are excited about growing the Academy, growing our industry, and helping individuals find well-paying careers in the residential construction industry.”

The Academy is funded primarily by a workforce development grant through Maricopa County and an industry investment through HBACA. The Academy is also supported by The Home Depot Foundation through the Home Builders Institute.


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