Florida Funds New Project CRAFT Site in Clearwater
Florida Governor Jeb Bush and state legislators have appropriated $350,000 to the Department of Juvenile Justice to bring the Home Builders Institute's Project CRAFT (Community, Restitution, Apprenticeship-Focused Training) to Clearwater, where it will serve 40 adjudicated youths.
“We are aware of the difficult choices you must make in deciding where to spend the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, and that is why we are especially grateful for your support to offer the life-building benefits of Project CRAFT to the court-involved youths of Clearwater,” Patsy Smith, HBI chairman of the board of trustees, wrote to Governor Bush.
In Florida, Project CRAFT operates programs at the Avon Park Youth Academy and in Orlando, Pembroke Pines and Tampa
“Project CRAFT helps troubled kids by giving them a second chance to turn their lives around,” said Bill Paul, an HBI trustee and Tampa builder and developer who played an instrumental role in rallying support from legislators and builders to bring the program to Clearwater. “The training, skills and care they receive from HBI are their ticket to a new life in our industry,” he said.
Many of Florida’s prominent legislators — including Sen. Victor Crist, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice Appropriations; Rep. Gus Barreiro, chairman of the House Justice Appropriations Committee; and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, chairman of the House Economic Development, Trade and Banking Committee — have pledged their support for Project CRAFT.
The Clearwater site will be welcoming its first students next month.
Project CRAFT is currently operating at 10 sites in Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas.
Florida has also provided funding for a Project TRADE (Training, Restitution, Apprenticeship, Development and Education) site in Ocala, where HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, will provide trades training and job placement in partnership with Phoenix House, a nationwide program providing substance abuse treatment, prevention and education to adult offenders.
HBI currently operates Project TRADE programs in Sheridan, Ill.; and Colorado Springs, Col.
For more information, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908.