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Scholarship Enables Job Corps Students to Start Housing Industry Careers

Home Builders Institute (HBI) Job Corps graduates Michael Manuel and Ishaaq Mickens, both students at the Keystone Job Corps Center in Drums, PA, are the most recent recipients of the HBI/Lowe’s Building Careers Scholarship

The scholarship — which was established in April with a $50,000 contribution from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation — helps eligible HBI Job Corps graduates who are starting careers in the home building industry by providing financial assistance for such job-related needs as clothing, equipment and transportation. The scholarship has been awarded to more than 20 young men and women.

“We are proud to play a part in helping these deserving young adults as they make this important transition from Job Corps to the next stage in their lives,” said Mike Horn, Lowe’s vice president for commercial sales. “The HBI/Lowe’s Scholarships are an important investment for Lowe’s in the future of our industry and will go a long way in propelling the next generation of experts.”

Manuel, a student in HBI’s plumbing class, used his scholarship award to buy a car and insurance. He says he ended his years of “going down the wrong path” when he enrolled in Job Corps in March 2003, and he stayed in the program until he reached the highest skill level possible. According to his instructor, Jack Pape, Manuel has excelled in the trade, becoming one of the best students he has taught in his 18 years with HBI. Manuel will join his stepfather’s business, Plumber of Baltimore, Inc., as an apprentice.

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Mickens says he decided to follow the lead of his older brother and enroll in Job Corps when he began to “lose focus” while attending high school in Philadelphia last year. He chose the carpentry trade because he “likes working with his hands” and completed a paid internship with a Hazleton builder in framing homes on two- and three-man crews.

Mickens was hired by Bentley Homes of West Chester, PA, a general contractor of high-end homes in the King of Prussia area that first learned about HBI’s Job Corps graduates at HBI’s Skills Exhibit booth during last year’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. Mickens also used his scholarship to buy a car to get him to his new job.

The partnership between HBI and Lowe’s and the Building Careers Scholarship will be part of  the Lowe’s exhibit at the upcoming IBS in Orlando, FL. Lowe’s has also donated all of the materials to build the HBI Skills Exhibit at the 2005 show, where HBI students will showcase their training in the trades.

HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, is celebrating 30 years as a training contractor for the Department of Labor’s Job Corps, placing more than 2,000 graduates in industry jobs annually. The nation’s oldest and largest residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, Job Corps provides hands-on training in the trades, basic academic instruction and employability skills.

For more information about HBI and its various training programs, including Job Corps, e-mail Maria McIntyre, or call her at 800-795-7955 x8912.

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