For nearly 50 years, HBI and its forerunner, the Manpower Development & Training Department of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, have trained workers in construction, promoted the building industry as a career and helped address the need for qualified employees. Today, HBI is an independent, national non-profit organization and partner in the NAHB federation. HBI’s relationships with local home-builders associations have helped create opportunities for students.
HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military members, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers. Preparing students for success in the building industry is at the core of what HBI does across the country. At any given time during the year, HBI touches more than 13,000 students through its programs.
HBI’s training process, products and services are instrumental in the success of its programs, including Job Corps, Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training, Military and Veterans, and Building Careers Programs. Through each program, individuals are trained and ready to pursue careers in the building industry.
“We want our students to know what it’s like to be in this business,” says HBI President and CEO John Courson. “You can’t learn this business by only studying on a computer, from a textbook or in a classroom. They have to get out in the field and experience what it’s like to perform trades in all kinds of weather. I want the last day of training for our students to be just like the first day on a new job.”
A Unique Program
HBI’s Five Steps of Service model focuses on connecting, assessing, certifying, training and placing individuals in high-growth construction careers. The model is a soup-to-nuts process that offers students job readiness, certified training, career connections, hope, confidence and long-term success. HBI’s five steps 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.
Unique to the industry, HBI’s training process uses a hands-on approach that combines technical and employability skills with core academics; students work and learn how to be successful in the industry. Students’ trade skills are put into practice with contractors on community service projects. Students can earn several industry-recognized credentials, including an HBI Pre-Apprentice Certificate, OSHA 10-Hour Safety Training, CPR, First Aid and a National Occupational Testing Institute trade-specific certificate.
HBI training programs do more than just provide job skills. They build character and self-esteem, offering students the interpersonal skills they also need to succeed. Students learn leadership, a sense of responsibility, time management, team work and how to communicate effectively.
“As we work to build careers and change lives among the populations we serve, we want to be sure that our students are ready in every way to be successful at every step of the process,” Courson explains.
HBI’s Five Steps of Service integrates structured education and training with the world of work, including career exploration, job exposure and internships that lead to full-time employment. Each year, HBI recognizes top former students who have graduated from an HBI program and have achieved success in the building industry despite adversity they have encountered through their journey. HBI instructors from across the country nominate former students and the top two are selected.
Dawit Zengo of Alexandria, Va., and Kristy Stringer of Way Cross, Ga., were recognized for their leadership qualities, achievements and potential in the building industry at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.