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With its new Construction-Coaching Opportunities to Reach Employment Opportunities (C-CORE) program, the Home Builders Institute (HBI) is putting a twist on an age-old tradition of passing trade skills down from one generation to the next.
HBI C-CORE — a three-year program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice — matches teens aged 16-18 with adult mentors who encourage them to consider careers in the home building industry and coach them toward success.
Anyone involved in the home building industry is eligible to be a C-CORE mentor. HBI currently is recruiting mentors for the program, which was launched in October with the goal of matching 5,000 youths with 1,600 mentors in the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and Florida.
So far, 45 coaches and 127 youths have signed up for the C-CORE program at 16 sites, including partnerships with the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia, the Home Builders Association of Greenville, and the Builders Association of Northern Nevada.
The entire board of directors of the Home Builders Association of Middle Georgia showed its commitment by signing up as C-CORE coaches, according to Dennis Torbett, vice president of HBI Workforce Training and Employment, which oversees the program.
The program will be expanded by 11 more sites in 2011.
“I encourage my fellow NAHB members to become coaches for the C-CORE program,” said NAHB Chairman-elect Robert Nielsen, president of Shelter Properties Inc. in Reno, Nev. “The commitment requires a time investment of only a few hours a month for such a great impact on a young person’s life. You’ll not only help tap their potential, you will gain a sense of personal and professional satisfaction from the experience.”
Mentors are matched with a group of three youths with whom they spend as little as two hours per week helping and advising them in a supportive team environment with other HBI C-C-CORE mentors and youth.
HBI provides volunteer mentors with training that explains their roles and responsibilities, gives them insight into how to build their mentoring relationships, and builds their skills in effective communication and problem-solving. Continued advice and resources are available after the initial training.
Because building a trusting relationship between a mentor and a young person takes time, HBI C-CORE asks mentors to commit a minimum of one year to the program.
Earl McLeod, executive director of the HBA of Greater Columbia and a member of the HBI Board of Trustees, has signed up to become a mentor, and he looks forward to what he calls a “feel-good, do-good opportunity” to engage young people in the residential construction trades and make a positive difference in their lives.
“I encourage my colleagues to become mentors for the HBI C-CORE program,” McLeod said. “You will influence these young people with your caring and guidance, and you will be helping to develop the next generation of trades people for the residential construction industry. ”
Two new C-CORE mentors — Beth Underwood and Franqee Higgins — said they know the value mentoring played in their lives when they embarked on careers in the home building industry. They are now doing everything they can to make sure that young people who sign up for the HBI C-CORE program receive a similar benefit.
Underwood, a Tucson, Ariz., Realtor®, remembers when she decided to become a customer service representative for K. Hovnanian Homes. She set out to find out all she could about the residential construction industry, and her quest to learn what it actually takes to build a home landed her a spot in the first class of The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association Institute of Construction.
Underwood spent a year learning the trades. The work was tough, but with the support of her mentor, Les Wolfe, owner of The L.G. Wolfe Co., she graduated.
“Les Wolfe inspired me and made sure I didn’t fail. It was an easy decision to give back what already had been given to me,” Underwood said of her enrollment as a C-CORE mentor.
Underwood takes every opportunity to encourage fellow industry leaders in her area to become C-CORE mentors. “These young men and women need someone to believe in them. They need encouragement, and they need to learn a trade. We are in the perfect industry to provide a support system for them,” she said.
Franqee Higgins, Texas/Northern Louisiana regional coordinator for C-CORE, was 19 and ready to change his life when he met his mentor, Philip Orr, an HBI electrical instructor at Guthrie (Okla.) Job Corps Center. Higgins studied the electrical and plumbing trades at Guthrie, winning the NAHB Chairman’s Award at the 2007 International Builders’ Show. He eventually became an HBI Job Corps electrical instructor at the Clearfield Job Corps Center in Utah, where he was named “Rookie Instructor of the Year.”
“Phil told me that if I would do what he said, my life would change,” Higgins said. “I kept up with him — whenever I took a college course or won an award. When I became a Job Corps instructor, it was the culmination of what Phil means to me because I knew then that I could make a difference in a young person’s life too.”
Higgins now matches young people interested in the home building industry with C-CORE mentors from his Dallas office. “Many of our youths do not come from the most positive of situations,” he said. “C-CORE mentors not only guide them on the path to success by showing them the ropes of the home building industry, they help them shape a positive outlook on life.”
For more information about how you can become an HBI C-CORE mentor, contact Tadar Muhammad at 863-557-5054 or e-mail email@example.com.