Fueled by a shortage of qualified workers in nearly every job in the homebuilding industry, construction industry leaders in Colorado have launched the Colorado Homebuilding Academy, a construction school that will elevate and support youth and adults starting careers in homebuilding.
Designed by construction and education industry leaders, the Colorado Homebuilding Academy is dedicated to advancing homebuilding opportunities for businesses, workers, job seekers and students. It pulls the best practices of existing industry training under one roof, providing a hands-on, training-to-placement approach to prepare its students for a meaningful career in homebuilding. At the same time, the Academy provides employers with qualified, motivated and skilled workers who can meet industry demands now and into the future.
“The homebuilding industry has been plagued by a shortage of high-quality workers,” said Pat Hamill, chairman and chief executive of Oakwood Homes, who had the vision to unite the industry in creating the Academy. “Preparing and training the workforce is the key to ensuring our industry remains healthy.”
The residential construction industry has seen its workforce dwindle because of a lack of vocational education at schools, a cultural shift away from blue-collar work and a loss of talent during the economic downturn. Nearly 200,000 construction industry jobs nationwide are vacant at a boom time for homebuilders, a jump of 81 percent in just two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
Created to address that shortage, the Academy is led by Michael Smith, who most recently was the executive director of Colorado Construction Institute, a nonprofit organization working to address the construction labor shortage. Founded in 2012, CCI is responsible for launching many successful construction training programs for both youth and adults.
“I am proud to join a team of talented and committed people focused on creating a sustainable solution to the industry’s labor shortage,” Smith said. “The Home Builders Association of Metro Denver is an integral partner to our team. To provide a sustainable industry solution to an industry problem, we all have to work together.”
The Academy is working to solve the labor needs of today as well as develop the workforce of tomorrow with its Building Pathways program. Toward that end, the Academy is targeting adult students who are underemployed or unemployed and transitioning military veterans who are seeking a rewarding career with competitive pay and benefits.
The Academy is also currently working with five high schools in the Denver metro area and plans to double the number of partner schools next year. The Building Pathways program takes place both in classrooms and the field, and offers practical, focused and industry-aligned pathways to jobs.
The Academy will offer a range of educational, training and placement programs designed to inspire and prepare workers for numerous career options in the homebuilding industry. The curriculum, which includes Construction Skills Bootcamp, Superintendent Training and Infrastructure Boot Camp, will launch a Contractor Development series later this year. The Academy’s website, which includes additional information, is cohomebuildingacademy.org.
Partners joining Oakwood Homes in this training mission include Precision Building Systems, The Foundation for Educational Excellence, the University of Denver Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.
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