HBI Helps Students Build Construction Careers

Zengo is a 2015 graduate of the Building Construction Technology program at the Old Dominion Job Corps Center in Monroe, Va. He received the 2016 NAHB Chairman’s Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding HBI program graduate who has overcome adversity to achieve success in the building industry. Zengo completed an internship with Equity Residential Co., Washington, was immediately hired and quickly moved up to senior service technician.

A 2015 graduate of the Building Construction Technology program at Fort Stewart Army Base in Georgia, Stringer received her award from Shirley McVay Wiseman, the first woman president of NAHB. The Shirley McVay Wiseman Award for Exceptional Promise Award is presented annually to an outstanding female HBI pro- gram graduate who is pursuing a successful career in the home-building industry. Stringer served honorably for nine years in the U.S. Army as a cable maintainer technician. She is currently working with CSX Transportation Co., Jacksonville, Fla., as a communications technician.

HBI has trained and certified hundreds of thousands of students over the years, but job placement is a critical step in the employment continuum. In 2016, approximately 85 percent of qualified students were placed in jobs.
To learn more about how to recruit HBI graduates, email HBICommunications@hbi.org, call (202) 266-8936, or visit the HBI Industry Jobs Board at HBI.org. Please provide name, contact information and job location.

William Atkinson: An HBI Success Story

William Atkinson credits his friend for encouraging him to enroll in HBI’s Building Construction Technology (BCT) program at Fort Stewart Army Base in Georgia. He knew he always was a “hands-on” worker, but he wasn’t sure what he would be doing after his military career.

“Construction work seemed to be a great environment to transition to after the military,” Atkinson says. “I thought it would give me a nice taste of being a civilian again.”

A U.S. Army combat engineer, Atkinson was enrolled in the BCT program at Fort Stewart in the spring of 2016. He was able to learn aspects of various trades, including carpentry; plumbing; electrical; painting; landscaping; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. By September, he had earned not only his BCT certification, but also his OSHA 10 and Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training CORE.

“My HBI instructor, Bob Park, created a learning environment and experience that was good for transitioning soldiers. He was very clear and easy to understand. If a student had prior experience or none at all, Bob could make anyone understand and he used different ways to make it easy,” Atkinson recalls.

Park adds, “Atkinson was very energetic, enjoyed learning and was determined to succeed.”

HBI’s program is designed to support students at every stage of the employment continuum. Students are trained and certified in brick masonry, building construction technology, carpentry, electrical wiring, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, landscaping, plumbing, solar installation or weatherization.

HBI’s program is designed to support students at every stage of the employment continuum. Students are trained and certified in brick masonry, building construction technology, carpentry, electrical wiring, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, landscaping, plumbing, solar installation or weatherization.

HBI Program Manager Ricky Lewis, a 20-year veteran, connected with Atkinson on a personal level. “I understood the anxiety of his transition, relocation and employment goals for a positive outcome,” Lewis states. “We were able to help him align his demographics of interest with employment goals as he transitioned out of the military.”

Atkinson also points out all of the HBI staff members were very understanding. The fifth step in HBI’s Five Steps of Service, placement, is a very important component to ensuring HBI students get off to a positive start in the building industry.
“They handed job opportunities to me
on a silver platter and were pushing me to go to interviews,” Atkinson says.

When the opportunity came to interview with Raleigh, N.C.-based Baker Roofing Co., Atkinson jumped at the chance. Even though Baker Roofing is located in another state and would mean some time away from his official military duties, he knew he had the help of the HBI support system to make it happen.

“Bob explained to my superiors why I needed to go to the interview. He helped me on the Army side to get clearance so that I could get to my job interview in Wilmington, N.C.,” Atkinson explains.

Currently employed with Baker Roofing, Atkinson is responsible for commercial service repairs and has had to learn numerous roofing systems to accomplish his day-to-day responsibilities. Although it has been challenging, Atkinson says his experience so far has presented him with the opportunity for growth. He emphasizes the opportunities that Baker Roofing has provided. “They don’t hold you back. If they see the potential, they let you try it,” Atkinson attests.

Atkinson began his job at Baker Roofing as a laborer and moved up to lead man after only six months. Although his long-term goals are not as clear as his short-term goals right now, Atkinson wants to continue to grow within Baker Roofing. “Whatever they give me, I’ll take. Whatever they teach me, I’ll learn. Wherever it takes me, I’m ready to go,” Atkinson says.

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