As recession and joblessness loom, new skills training for workers is crucial, said the head of the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the nation’s leading provider of construction trades training and education, at the grand opening ceremony of its new facility in Houston. 

“Economists now expect we will see an increase in unemployment over the coming months, as the Federal Reserve continues taking steps to rein in inflation,” said Ed Brady, CEO, HBI. “Now is the time to prepare with programs that will offer the underemployed or unemployed the opportunity to develop new, marketable skills.” 

The chief executive spoke at the unveiling of the BuildStrong Academy of Houston. The training center is part of a nationwide initiative by HBI to help fill the severe worker shortage affecting housing in Texas and the U.S. The Houston location is the fourth BuildStrong Academy, following the opening of centers in Denver, Colorado, Orlando, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana. HBI has promised to open 15 more training academies by 2027. 

The Houston academy will use HBI's industry-recognized curriculum designed to transform students into trained, pre-apprentices sought after by builders. “Over the next few years, the BuildStrong Academy of Houston will help create great career opportunities in the building industry for thousands of those living in the Houston area,” said Brady.  

Located on Harwin Drive, the BuildStrong Academy of Houston offers programs that are available tuition-free to anyone 18 years or older. No previous construction experience is necessary. Through participation in workshop, classroom and web-based learning, students earn industry credentials, including the OSHA-10 safety certification. They also receive career counseling, job-placement support and networking opportunities with top industry employers.  

At the event, Brady also announced the Texas Education Agency has approved HBI’s pre-apprenticeship certificate training programs for secondary schools. Beginning this year, high school students in Texas will have access to the HBI curriculum, exposing them to different forms of trade work and a variety of construction skills including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, weatherization and landscaping. The Texas Association of Builders was instrumental in getting HBI’s curriculum passed within the state.  

The Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) plays an important role in connecting local high school graduates to industry opportunities and good-paying jobs.

HBI's training curriculums are developed in conjunction with members of the National Association of Home Builders and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.  

The nation’s construction industry has been short approximately 300,000 skilled workers every month this year, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to HBI’s Spring 2022 Construction Labor Market Report, the U.S. will need an additional 2.2 million net hires for construction between 2022 and 2024.

The HBI CEO acknowledged that the demand for construction labor will slacken in the short run as a result of an economic slowdown.

The Houston academy has already produced its inaugural class of seven graduates who entered the first program offering in July. Currently 40 students are enrolled in the program.

The BuildStrong Academy of Houston is funded by The Home Depot Foundation (THDF), WoodNext Foundation, West Fraser, and Perry Homes. Trade sponsors for the program include Klein Tools, American Standard and RWC.

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