Home Builders Institute Trains Norfolk Service Members in the Skilled Trades Transitioning service members and supporters inaugurate new skilled trades training facility
WASHINGTON — July 30, 2019 — HBI (Home Builders Institute) officially opened its new skilled trades training program for transitioning service members in Norfolk on July 18. The cost-free, 12-week construction industry training, certification and job placement program allows active duty service members within 180 days of separation from the military to obtain critical training that enables them to pursue a civilian career in the skilled trades.
“Our standards and curriculum are designed and created by, what I think is one of our biggest strengths at the Home Builders Institute, professionals of the industry. Our instructors are industry professionals and our managers are industry professionals,” said Ed Brady, President and CEO of HBI, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new HBI facility. “[The curriculum and standards] give the skills and practical application needed to use the talents you possess to get on the site and be productive on day one.”
The Norfolk effort marks the seventh installation to join the collaboration between HBI and The Home Depot Foundation to train transitioning military members and other new tradespeople to help address the ongoing skilled labor shortage in the building industry. Fort Stewart, Fort Bragg, Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Fort Carson and Jacksonville Naval Air Station currently have programs under way.
The skills training would not be possible without the community and students that are putting in the work. Throughout the program, service members spend 75% of their time in hands-on training, earn professional certifications, and receive job placement support so that they can find employment before their last day wearing a uniform.
Kelsey Peery, a current transitioning service member who is part of the first HBI Norfolk cohort, which graduates in August, spoke about how the program has impacted her life, as she prepares to join her husband – a sailor stationed in Sigonella, Italy. When speaking of the training, she said, “What I like most about this industry is that if one thing is not for you, something else may be for you. In the times we’ve thought ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ [the instructors] taught us and kept us on the right track.”
A motto of HBI is to “Build new careers and change your lives.” This training program does that through five steps: connect, assess, train, certify and place. These steps are utilized to change the lives of the service members who have sacrificed so much for their community and country. Skilled trades jobs are in demand everywhere, so no matter if a transitioning Sailor or Marine decides to stay in Norfolk, move home, or move somewhere new, these skills can be put to work immediately.
A video of the ribbon-cutting event, with speeches from HBI CEO Ed Brady, City of Norfolk Military Affairs Liaison Doug Beaver, current students and more, can be found here.
The Home Depot Foundation is funding the program to help create a skilled labor pipeline to support the future of the building industry. The foundation is committed to working with HBI to set up training sites at additional U.S. bases this year and in subsequent years.
“Giving back to service members exiting the military is personal to The Home Depot as more than 35,000 of our associates have served in the military. Last year, The Home Depot Foundation made a commitment to work alongside HBI and train 20,000 skilled workers to help combat a major issue within the trades industry. This new program will further that effort and we look forward to training and serving the service men and women of Norfolk,” explained Executive Director for The Home Depot Foundation Shannon Gerber.
HBI is a national nonprofit that provides training, curriculum and job placement services for the building industry. With overall program job placement rates at over 85 percent for graduates, 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. Visit www.hbi.org for more information and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $315 million in veteran causes and improved more than 45,000 veteran homes and facilities in 4,300 cities. In 2018, the Foundation pledged an additional $250 million to veteran causes taking the total commitment to half of a billion dollars by 2025.