HBA-Led Programs Increase Interest in the Trades

Workforce Development
Published
Contact: Greg Zick
gzick@nahb.org
AVP, Workforce Development
(202) 266-8493

students working on construction project

Students in Alabama learn about the residential construction industry through hands-on activities.

HBA leaders and members are not waiting for interest in the skilled trades to tick up. As part of NAHB’s national strategic partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America, associations of all sizes actively recruit the next generation of skilled trades professionals by leading dynamic and engaging career exploration programming.

Indiana Building Community Makes Lasting Impression on Students

The BA of Elkhart County (Ind.) proves that a singular career-in-construction event can make a lasting impression on students. The association connected with its Boys & Girls Club and planned a half-day program targeted to teens throughout the county. The HBA developed an eye-catching flyer that was distributed widely, which attracted a mix of boys and girls to attend the event.

The “Truss to Tray” attendees had the opportunity to construct a tray with reclaimed wood and hardware donated by HBA members. Under the tutelage of several HBA members, teens who had never spent any time near tools or materials were reading blueprints and swinging hammers. HBA member company Big C Lumber captured the day's energy and shared a video with the community on its Facebook page.

In addition to the build, students participated in a nail driving competition. They also had the opportunity to watch a forklift demonstration and learned about the skills it takes to operate heavy machinery.

Following the event, the local Boys & Girls Club disseminated a post-event survey to the students. The response to the programming was overwhelmingly positive, with students expressing their enthusiasm and gratitude. They were happy to share that they retained what they learned, from reading blueprints to safely navigating equipment, and demonstrated the effectiveness of these career exploration programs. 

HBA in Alabama Connects Student Standouts to Trade Schools

The HBA of Greater Birmingham (Ala.) spent a full year introducing a group of approximately 40 students, from 8th to 12th grade, to each vocational career path in the industry. For example, the HBA invited a framer to discuss construction, and the students then built park benches. The park bench build event was coordinated by the association's Professional Women in Building members, and the materials were donated by 84 Lumber.

The student's introduction to the residential construction industry was not only about tools and materials. The HBA developed a comprehensive career exploration program that exposed students to a wide range of industry experts. Students had the opportunity to hear from various professionals, including a mortgage broker and a city inspector, to provide them with a holistic understanding of the industry. 

Building on the success of the previous programs, the HBA is now expanding the scope of the projects. This summer, students are actively involved in planning and preparing to build a storage shed. Each student is assigned to various committees, such as exterior design and landscaping. The HBA will celebrate the project's completion with a ribbon-cutting event for the students.

Several students sought formal training as a result of the careers in construction programming and were introduced to the local trade school. Ultimately, the HBA programs not only benefit the students, but also contribute to the growth and sustainability of the local residential construction industry.

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