Sen. Wicker Visits Gulf Coast Reconstruction Program
Just days ahead of Hurricane Gustav making landfall in Louisiana, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) joined NAHB Past President Bobby Rayburn, Home Builders Institute (HBI) trustee Annette Rayburn and several representatives from the building industry on an Aug. 28 tour of the training facility of HBI’s Operation Reconstruct program in Gulfport, Miss.
With the latest storm barreling down on the area, the importance of organized disaster relief efforts to susceptible Gulf Coast communities was immediately apparent to the visitors.
Operation Reconstruct was founded by HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, and The Paxen Group in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The program was later replicated in Gulfport and Jackson to train eligible workers under the Workforce Investment Act in residential construction trades.
Funding for the Gulfport and Jackson initiatives is being provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Operation Reconstruct’s dual mission of addressing both displaced residents and displaced workers is key to its effectiveness in facilitating rebuilding efforts. The program’s free 10-week work-readiness and Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) provides job placement assistance in the home building industry.
As part of their training, students enrolled in Operation Reconstruct divide 35 hours each week between class time, on-site job training and community service, becoming increasingly employable in the housing industry though their participation in local rebuilding projects.
Sen. Wicker was introduced to the program through the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative (GCWDI), which has joined Operation Reconstruct as a partner in the program’s second year. Wicker spent about an hour meeting with HBI employees and learning about Operation Reconstruct’s efforts to rebuild the Gulfport community.
The Rayburns were instrumental in establishing Operation Reconstruct in their home state of Mississippi.
“It’s unfortunate, but hurricanes are a reality of living on the Mississippi Coast,” said Annette Rayburn. “It’s important that we are prepared for the challenges and that we address them immediately. I am proud of Operation Reconstruct for standing out as a leader in rebuilding efforts, and we are all grateful that Sen. Wicker could visit our facility.”
“Sen. Wicker’s visit was a home run. He had a great time and we made a new friend,” said Operation Reconstruct Project Coordinator Eddie Collins.
For more information on Operation Reconstruct, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908.
Home Builders Institute Offers New Program to Teach English to Spanish Speakers
Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition is an easy-to-use, take-home learning tool created by Home Builders Institute (HBI) to improve job site communication, construction quality and safety by teaching English to Spanish-speaking workers, who make up 25% of today’s construction industry workforce.
Sponsored by Lowe’s Commercial Services, Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition was developed by a team of subject matter experts — including superintendents, craft skills experts, remodelers and builders — to ensure that its contents was relevant to today’s home building workforce. HBI also created a seventh book based entirely on the NAHB-OSHA Job Site Safety Handbook to address job site safety issues related to the language barrier.
Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition uses proven LeapFrog technology to allow learners to listen, record and play back their pronunciation of more than 500 vocabulary words and 340 phrases. Participants who practice 30 minutes each day will complete the program in about five months. Learning at home, on their own time, also eliminates scheduling conflicts.
NAHB members can purchase the learning system, all seven books and a skills assessment to chart progress for $395 per kit. The non-member price is $495. Order today at www.seddesaberconstruction.com or at www.lowesforpros.com.