Partnerships Benefit Builders, Students

ERLANGER, Ky. — New partnerships between the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky and local schools are a “win-win.”

The goal, according to HBA’s executive vice president Brian Miller, is to grow the trade industry workforce and give people an opportunity to make a good, successful living.

“Industry employers are constantly calling us looking for good people to work today,” he said. “We must grow our workforce. These partnerships are going to take us into the future.”

HBA’s Enzweiler Building Institute, an apprentice training program, has partnered with Boone County Schools for a traditional construction vocational trades training program and with Gateway Community and Technical College for the articulation of their Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning program with Gateway’s related HVAC course of study.

The institute is a postsecondary evening trades education program for adults taught by industry trade professionals.

The training program brings 48 sophomores and juniors from Boone County Schools to the Enzweiler Building Institute.

The high school students will participate in a state-approved curriculum that will introduce them to construction trades focused on licensure attainment and long-term employment.

After their first year is complete, students will participate in a co-op work program with HBA employer members, Miller said.

Upon graduation, students may attend the institute to work toward their journeyman’s certificate and attain licensure in specific trades.

HBA’s partnership with Gateway will benefit graduates of its HVAC program, enabling them to advance faster through Gateway’s associate’s degree programming.

“This agreement will allow graduates of our program to earn over 25 hours of college credit,” Miller said. “This meets many of the goals of the governor’s dual credit education systems. We expect this to be the first of many courses that we offer to articulate with our partners at Gateway.”

Miller said this offering is a real win for the industry, which needs to grow its workforce by 2,500 new jobs in Greater Cincinnati and replace an anticipated 42,000 workers, managers and company owners that are due to retire in the next 10 years.

“If the trends continue we are looking at the largest workforce shortage in construction since immediately following World War II,” he said. “We hope our graduates take advantage of this outstanding opportunity to attend Gateway upon completion of their studies here and enroll in their courses that will equip them to be the managers and company owners we will need in the very near future.”

Boone County Schools Superintendent Randy Poe said this partnership provides a path for students to be career ready upon high school graduation.

“We’re happy to be the first to partner with the HBA for this program and to make this dream a reality not only for our students, but eventually students across the region,” he said. “We believe this program is meaningful for students and provides them the opportunity to learn valuable skills.”

In turn, Poe said, the program is a win for the HBA and the trade industry as well as the regional economy.
According to Miller, the recent recession has left the trades industry with a workforce challenge. As a result of the economic downturn, he said, trades people have retired or have moved on to other industries.

This partnership with Boone Schools, he said, will afford young people an opportunity to begin a career that offers good pay and entrepreneur potential.

“The managers and company owners in the trades industry are facing retirement in the not-too-distant future,” he said. “We not only need workers today but people to replace the managers and owners in the coming years. How many career paths can one take that will offer the opportunity to eventually run and operate your own business?”

Miller said HBA is in discussions with Kenton County Schools and hopes to bring them on board in a partnership next school year.

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