Mississippi Celebrates First Project CRAFT Graduates
The Project CRAFT recently graduated its first class in Jackson, Miss., and the initial pilot program there has proved so successful that the collaboration between Home Builders Institute (HBI), the workforce development arm of NAHB, and the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) has been extended for one full year to train 20 youths from Rankin, Madison, Hinds and Warren Counties.
The goal of Project CRAFT is to help at-risk youths make a successful transition from custody to gainful employment in residential construction while simultaneously strengthening the home building industry’s employment base.
Although he could not attend the graduation, MDHS Executive Director Donald Taylor cited the effectiveness of Project CRAFT and praised the graduates for taking advantage of an opportunity to improve their lives.
Richard Harris, deputy director of administration at MDHS, presented a keynote address to graduates Jeremy Farabee, Frankie Luckett, Jerome Parson and Joshua Smith.
Instrumental in bringing Project CRAFT to Mississippi, Bobby Rayburn, immediate past president of NAHB and an HBI trustee, was on hand to congratulate the graduates and welcome them into the home building industry. “Your training enables you to now become part of one of our nation’s economic powerhouses,” he said. “With your box of tools and the skills you have learned at HBI you not only can earn a good living, but more importantly, you can take today’s success and make a career out of it.”
HBI Project Coordinator Kevin Polk and instructor James Pates presented the diplomas. Pates, in particular, was involved with the students at every step leading up to their successful completion of the program — as counselor, case manager, confidant, trainer, bus driver, teacher, instructor and someone who truly cares.
The commencement ceremony was attended by several members of the local news media.
For more information on Project CRAFT/ Mississippi, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908; for information on other HBI programs, contact Maria McIntyre at x8912.