Houston Ribbon-Cutting Leads to More Trade Careers

Filed in Membership, Workforce Development by on July 18, 2018 0 Comments


GHBA CEO Casey Morgan and Houston, Texas Mayor Sylvester Turner are surrounded by students and teachers at the HBI construction training program ribbon-cutting.

Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) CEO Casey Morgan and president Don Klein joined Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Home Builders Institute (HBI) president and CEO John Courson and Norbord Inc. president and CEO Peter Wijnbergen for a June 28 press conference and ribbon-cutting for the HBI Acres Homes program launch.

HBI is NAHB’s workforce training arm, facilitating trades-training classrooms across the country through pre-apprenticeship programs, job placement services and certification curricula.

HBI often partners with other stakeholders in the industry. Following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, HBI was contacted by Norbord Inc., a Toronto-based international producer of wood-based panels that wanted to help with recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. Norbord wanted to commit $1 million to construction-related education in Florida and Texas through HBI programs.

After HBI shared the news with the Houston builders, Morgan immediately began working to convince HBI and Norbord to partner with the city of Houston.

“Our industry was already experiencing a labor shortage, but Hurricane Harvey exacerbated the shortage,” said Morgan. “Additionally, trades training has always been a priority for the GHBA, but the importance of trades education has become crystalized for the GHBA since Harvey. It made perfect sense for HBI to locate a Norbord-funded carpentry classroom in Houston.”

Meanwhile, the Mayor Turner had just announced the launch of Complete Communities, an initiative focusing economic revitalization and investment efforts in five specific Houston neighborhoods. One component of these efforts is workforce development.

Morgan connected HBI’s Courson with Houston officials to get the ball rolling.

The process that followed was a smooth collaboration, she said. The city found available classroom space in one of the mayor’s Complete Communities neighborhoods, Acres Homes. The Texas Workforce Commission identified potential students between the ages 18 to 24 to enroll in the classes. HBI provided curriculum and hired two instructors, and the GHBA, along with the Chesmar Foundation, provided funding for classroom materials.

Fueled by a generous $500,000 contribution from Norbord, the classes began June 18 with 14 students enrolled. The program includes two 12-week carpentry classes, and upon completion of the curriculum, students will be prepared for jobs in sheet rocking, framing, painting and roofing.

Moving forward, GHBA hopes to continue its partnership with the city, HBI and Norbord so that more classrooms can be supported and facilitated across Houston.

For additional information about HBI programs, visit its website.

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