NAHB Members Lead Engaging Career Events Across the Country

Workforce Development
Contact: Sarah Weber
Senior Director, Workforce Development & Student Chapters
(202) 266-8654

kids in construction gear in front of HBA sign
HBA of Western Michigan participated in a career-oriented event and provided an engaging activity and photo booth.
students learning in a classroom
Elizabeth Gomez, a remodeler and member of the BIA of Clark County (Wash.), talks to students who are interested in enrolling in a trades program.
students led a ribbon cutting in classroom
Students in Fort Wayne, Ind., celebrate the completion of a workforce development facility they helped construct.

NAHB members are passionate about the housing industry and are sharing their enthusiasm with future construction industry professionals. Throughout Careers in Construction Month in October, HBAs and members led high-impact events and dynamic discussions to amplify the value of the skilled trades.

Boosting Shop Class Enrollment in Michigan

The HBA of Western Michigan (HBAWM) partnered with MiCareerQuest Southwest, a regional interactive career exploration event for approximately 4,000 eighth graders in the state.

For the event, the HBA provides a small roofing structure for students to practice their skills. Christina Reed, Director of Member Services for HBAWM, says that for many students, this is the first time they have ever hammered a nail. The HBA also provided a photo booth for students to wear construction gear.

“The idea is to make students aware of the type of careers offered in our area, so we can help connect the dots by showing them a pathway to that career through the courses offered when they get to high school,” said Reed. “Since the event, we’ve seen an uptake in trades students, including more females. Each class is capped with a waiting list.” 

Creating Creative Career Discussions in Washington State

Elizabeth Gomez a remodeler and member of the BIA of Clark County (Wash.) taught three classes at a local high school for students interested in the trades and those enrolled in the construction program or woodshop class.

Teens enjoy talking about themselves, says Gomez, so she invited the students to take a personality quiz. The quiz allowed students to discover what careers would be suitable for them. She also created a game called “Payday,” which introduced them to various construction career salaries and the winners received PAYDAY candy bars. In addition, Gomez led a wide-ranging discussion on construction-related topics such as sustainability, career pathways, and the importance of safety and keeping a clean job site.

“Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and the kids were really engaged and had fun…I absolutely love this part of my job,” said Gomez. “It is so rewarding to give back and invest into our community and our future.”

Investing in Training Opportunities in Indiana

The construction trades program at Fort Wayne Community Schools Career Academy (Ind.) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October to celebrate the completion of a new 11,000 sq. ft. addition to its existing facility. Students in the program constructed the new sheet metal/HVAC space that features a classroom and hands-on lab where students will learn skills for working with sheet metal, HVAC and furnace installation, air purification, ductwork, fabrication, furnace troubleshooting and more.

The project was planned and executed in 15 months with the support of local businesses and organizations that helped raise $500,000 and provided in-kind donations.

“We are so proud of not only the construction trades students and instructors for all their hard work, but also to the supporters – many of whom are HBA Fort Wayne members,” said Rebecca Cameron, executive officer of the HBA of Fort Wayne.

“To me, this is what being a ‘Workforce Champion’ is all about.” 

The HBAWM and BIA of Clark County are recipients of the Career Connections grant managed by the National Housing Endowment (NHE) to support activities that introduce students to careers in residential skilled trades. To learn more about Career Connections, visit the NHE website.

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