HBI's Project CRAFT Sees New Graduates and Programs
TBBA President Jeffry Ewing (left) and 2007 HBI Chairman Bill Paul (far right) celebrate with CRAFT Graduates in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Project CRAFT/St. Petersburg last month honored George Hobbs, William Meyers, Parnell Parham, Antorio Rooks and Xavier Williams for completing their Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT). In addition to trades training, their curriculum focused heavily on leadership and life skills.
Each of the students “embraced leadership roles, working with less advanced students,” said Home Builders Institute (HBI) instructor William Neal, and they “would often complete projects on their own with little supervision.”
Tampa Bay Builders Association (TBBA) President Jeffry Ewing served as the keynote speaker at the graduation, offering strong words of encouragement to the young students. TBBA Executive Vice President Joseph Narkiewicz and 2007 HBI Chairman Bill Paul were among the industryy members who attended in a show of support for the students and the program.
“I attend a lot of Project CRAFT’s graduation ceremonies and this is truly a great group of kids,” said Paul. “It doesn’t matter if four or 14 students graduate, when I see young talented people turning their lives around and eager to enter the home building industry, I know we are doing a great job.”
HBI operates Project CRAFT/St. Petersburg in partnership with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Pinellas County Schools and Florida Craftsmen.
New Programs Underway
Also in May, HBI opened a new CRAFT program in Tallahassee at the Sawmill Academy for girls, the second to be aimed at training adjudicated young women. CRAFT/Tallahassee trains high school-age students in the electrical trade and provides the life and employability skills needed to maintain a job in the residential construction industry.
After earning the right to attend Project CRAFT through good behavior, three students have so far joined the program.
“It’s great to see the effect our program is having on the entire facility. The students we’ve accepted are focused and taking the course seriously,” said HBI instructor Luther Tully. “Other girls are beginning to change their behavior to get admitted into this program.”
Project CRAFT/Hartford — which was recently established through a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and a grant from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to train and prepare students for life outside the court system — is also preparing to accept its first students.
The University of Connecticut and NIH will be monitoring the progress of students in this unique program and comparing their progress with the performance of students not enrolled in the CRAFT program.
Project CRAFT has been recognized by members of the U.S. Congress as a model intervention program for adjudicated youth, and its graduates average an 85% job placement rate. HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, operates Project CRAFT training programs at nine sites in Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee.
For more information on Project CRAFT, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908.
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