23 Mar, 2022, 10:00 ET
DENVER, March 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- BuildStrong Academy (BSA), a Denver-based workforce development initiative, announced plans today to expand nationally, with a goal of training one million new trade workers over the next 15 years. With new chapters in Orlando and greater New Orleans, BSA's expansion draws upon the success of the Colorado Homebuilding Academy (CHA), BSA's flagship chapter, which graduated more than 1,200 students since its 2017 opening.
Pat Hamill, CEO of Oakwood Homes, founded BuildStrong Academy to fill critical skills gaps and accelerate workforce development in Colorado's construction industry. In partnership with the Home Builders Institute (HBI) and Franchise for Good (FFG), Hamill will introduce his training-to-placement model to 20 new cities by 2037, with plans to expand into Charlotte, Houston and Phoenix over the next two years. The Colorado Homebuilding Academy will rebrand as BuildStrong Academy of Colorado, with plans to move into the Community College of Aurora's new Center for STEM, Power Mechanics and Applied Technologies in 2023.
Through corporate and philanthropic funding, BuildStrong Academy classes are free to students pursuing professional opportunities in the construction and homebuilding industry. Through six weeks of basic training, followed by 12-weeks of skilled trade instruction, BSA students graduate with a solid foundation in construction skills, exposure to different forms of trade work and industry-recognized credentials, including an OSHA-10 certification. BSA's holistic, training-to-placement model ensures all students receive on-site career counseling services, job-placement support and networking opportunities with top industry employers.
"In Colorado, our industry-driven initiative helped mitigate the construction industry's persistent labor shortage," Hamill said. "With BSA's expansion, we're launching our training-to-placement model nationally. Across the country, new BuildStrong Academy chapters will help address the the U.S. housing sector's severe lack of skilled laborers."
BuildStrong Academy's growth comes at a critical time for the United States' construction and homebuilding industry. A recent Home Builders Institute study found that the United States' housing sector needs to hire 740,000 new workers every year for the next three years to keep pace with growing housing demand. With an average age of 56, the construction industry's labor force is among the economy's fastest aging.
"Over the last decade, the country's shortage of affordable housing has reached a crisis point, with fewer than half of low-and-moderate income families able to afford a single-family home," Hamill said. "We need to build millions of new homes, and we simply don't have the workers to do it."
BuildStrong Academy's expansion is already underway. The second BuildStrong Academy chapter opened in Orlando, FL in Sept. 2021. The grand opening of the newest BuildStrong Academy chapter in Kenner, LA is scheduled for April 4. The chapter will open in partnership with local brand champions, including retired New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and the Brees Dream Foundation. The Brees family made a one-million-dollar commitment to the development of BSA's new chapter in greater New Orleans.
"My love for New Orleans runs deep, and my family is committed to giving back to our amazing Louisiana community through our nonprofit, the Brees Dream Foundation," said Brees. "BuildStrong Academy presents an incredible partnership opportunity, offering training and job placement programs to thousands of Louisianans. I'm thrilled to see this partnership come to life, and I can't wait to help grow our state's construction industry and skilled labor force. We're going to do a lot of good together."
Hamill expressed his gratitude for the Home Builders Institute and Franchise for Good, the nonprofit wing of Franworth, a franchise-focused growth equity firm based in Michigan. Franchise For Good helps franchise and scale successful local nonprofits, allowing organizations like BuildStrong Academy to maximize their potential for doing good.
"To achieve sustainable success, we'll recruit from communities across the United States, bringing in students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives," said David Neil, chairman of Franchise for Good. "For anyone interested in applying to a BuildStrong Academy, there are only three things you need to know: it's free, it's inclusive and it works."
BuildStrong Academy courses use the Home Builders Institute's training curriculum, developed in conjunction with the National Association of Homebuilders and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.
"With HBI's curriculum, BuildStrong Academy's programs guide trainees through a step-by-step process," said Ed Brady, president and CEO of HBI. "We are able to take students, including complete beginners, and transform them within weeks into trained pre-apprentices, highly sought after by employers."
With the aging out of older workers, Brady said, the purpose of BuildStrong Academy is to be part of the residential construction industry's efforts to foster the next generation of its skilled workforce. Brady emphasized the unique flexibility, attractive work environments and strong job security offered by careers in the trades.
"To stay competitive, homebuilders today are paying greater wages, offering stronger benefits and putting workers first when managing their businesses," Brady said. "Construction work is not for everybody, but for those who are willing, the opportunities for well-paid jobs and promising careers are limitless."
To learn more about BuildStrong Academy, register for one of its programs, or learn how to start an affiliate chapter in a new market, visit buildstrongacademy.org.
About BuildStrong Academy (BSA)
Founded in Denver, Colorado as the Colorado Homebuilding Academy, BuildStrong Academy was created by industry experts working in collaboration with builders, universities, trade associations, foundations and schools. Through a strategic partnership with HBI, they are transforming construction career education by putting hands-on learning, classroom teaching and real-life experience all under one roof with a focus on job placement, mentoring and ongoing support for students and partners. BuildStrong Academy of Colorado remains the flagship chapter of the national BuildStrong Academy network. For more information on BuildStrong Academy, visit buildstrongacademy.org.
About Franworth & Franchise For Good
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Franworth is a franchise-focused growth equity firm, dedicated to helping brands build a strong foundation, accelerate their growth and create economic value for their franchisors and franchisees. Through its expansive suite of professional services, best-in-class processes, talent, technology and proprietary supply chain system, Franworth specializes in mentoring emerging franchisors, helping them scale their businesses to achieve profitability, maximize growth and capitalize on their potential. The company's executive board includes John Rotche, founder, CEO and managing director; David Barr, managing director and partner; and Drew Brees, retired New Orleans Saints quarterback and Franworth partner. Franworth's leadership team includes seasoned franchise executive Dave Keil, president and founder of Franchise for Good. For more information about Franworth and Franchise For Good, its nonprofit division, visit franworth.com and franchiseforgood.org.
About Home Builders Institute (HBI)
The Home Builders Institute (HBI) trains skilled workers for the building industry. Through pre-apprenticeship training, certification programs and job placement services, HBI provides graduates—high school students, at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military personnel, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers—with the skills and experience they need to build a career and change their lives. Visit hbi.org for more information.
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SOURCE BuildStrong Academy
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