NAHB’s student chapter program aims to give high school students across the country early exposure to the home building industry by helping them make connections through their local home builders’ association.
Two HBA executive officers shared tips and strategies that their HBAs have used to uplift and educate their chapters looking for ways to help their local student chapters.
“The key is the communication between the faculty rep and the staff of the HBA,” said Corey Deal, executive officer for the Greater Atlanta HBA. “Once you have that link, it’s easier to connect the builders who want to participate.”
Sarah Foster, executive offer for the HBA of the Upper Peninsula, said whenever her association signs up a new student chapter she regularly asks instructors what supplies are needed.
Her members have sent safety glasses, carpenter pencils, tape measures and, in some cases, even machinery to local high schools.
“We do raise funds during the year for student chapters, but for bigger stuff, I’ll put the ask out to my members, and it's covered every time because they know it's for the students,” Foster said.
Aside from donations, Foster shared the importance of face-to-face visits with schools.
Every year, builders in her area will speak to students in class and teach them about the various tools they need to know how to use on the jobsite. They’ll also enlighten students on the many different specialties available for a career in construction.
HBAs shouldn’t let student projects go to waste, either. Foster says she’s asked her student chapters if she could buy or auction off some of their projects. She once raised more than $150 at a silent auction for a student-made table and then gave the money back to the school.
NAHB’s Student Chapter Toolkit has all the information necessary to start a new student chapter.