Project TRADE Graduate Finds a Career Path in Housing
After spending five years during his 20s in prison for drug-related offenses, James Diederich has been able to turn his life around with the construction trade skills he learned by participating in Home Builders Institute's (HBI) Project TRADE (Training, Restitution, Apprenticeship, Development and Education).
Soon after enrolling in the program in Colorado Springs, Colo., Diederich proved himself to be a fast learner and one of the best students at the site, often helping his classmates with challenging projects and attracting the attention of Project TRADE/Colorado Coordinator Deane Robertson.
“James was just a great student,” said Robertson. “He was very focused on learning the material, but I was particularly proud of the interest he took in assisting his peers. He was a great teammate at Project TRADE and I knew he would make a fine employee wherever he ended up.”
Deiderich successfully completed the HBI program last February and was hired by Manitou Electric just weeks later. Now 30, he has entered into his second year as an electrical apprentice for the company and is taking Independent Electrical Contractors courses at night in pursuit of his journeyman’s license.
“He will do whatever it takes to get the job done and stays focused on a positive outlook for his future, not his past,” said Michael White, owner of Manitou Electric. “James’ attitude and loyalty set him apart and I wish I had more employees like him.”
Project TRADE trains adult offenders and helps place them in jobs in the home building industry. The program is funded by ComCor, a non-profit community corrections agency that provides correctional services and treatment programs for offenders who are working to make a positive change in their lives.
At its three Project TRADE programs in Colorado, Florida and Illinois, HBI is training 250 offenders annually.
For more than 30 years, HBI programs have trained people in the trades, promoted the industry as a career and helped the residential construction industry and NAHB members address their workforce needs.
For more information on Project TRADE, e-mail Dennis Torbett, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908.