Opening of a training center for construction trades in Orlando

Officials expect the training center to welcome around 500 new trainees by the end of 2022. The BuildStrong Academy of Orlando training program guides participants through a step-by-step process designed to move them from beginners, with little or no business skills, to artisans sought after by employers. Instructors will use HBI’s industry-recognized curriculum, which is one of only three pre-apprenticeship programs recognized by the US Department of Labor.

For more than 50 years, HBI has conducted programs across the United States, training approximately 10,000 students each year through a variety of specialty programs. Officials at the Washington, DC-based nonprofit said they are taking a new approach in Orlando by running a facility that teaches students multiple construction trades under one roof.

“As construction job opportunities increase and people rethink their careers, the times demand that we take an inventive approach to creating the skilled workers the building industry so badly needs,” said Ed Brady, President and CEO of HBI, at a grand opening. ceremony here. “Students of the BuildStrong Academy of Orlando will be exposed to the full range of their opportunities in the construction trades.”

The effort comes at a critical moment. Each month this year, the construction industry is short of approximately 300,000 to 400,000 skilled workers, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis of data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet only a small percentage of young adults pursue a career in construction, Brady said.

“This is an opportunity for new hires to the industry to access entry level and receive hands-on training and placement in well-paying jobs,” he said.

“We are excited to launch this academic program in Orlando and provide career opportunities in the region, in partnership with HBI,” said Shannon Gerber, Executive Director of The Home Depot Foundation. “This program helps further our goal of supporting the next generation of tradespeople while diversifying the industry.

In addition to the Home Depot Foundation, the BuildStrong Academy in Orlando is funded by the Charles Koch Institute; West Fraser, a diversified wood products company based in Vancouver, Canada, and; CareerSource Central Florida, the Florida State Workforce Development Agency.

“The Academy will provide incredible training opportunities to develop skills, build careers and create value in the construction industry,” said Benjamin Colas, program manager at the Charles Koch Institute. “We are delighted to support this proven model and excited for all to come. “

“Many of those who work in this pandemic economy workplace have been relocated or are re-evaluating what they will be doing for a living,” said Ross Commerford, director of marketing and product development at West Fraser. “The Academy is for someone who might want a career as a construction worker.

“Central Florida is experiencing an economic boom in development projects, resulting in new jobs and the need for skilled talent,” said Pam Nabors, CEO and President of CareerSource Central Florida. “The Academy will ultimately be a springboard for thousands of young people who will be trained and placed in good jobs.


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Milton S. Rodgers

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