The Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky (HBA) through its Enzweiler Building Institute and partners including Boone County Schools, Kenton County Board of Education, Campbell County Schools, Ludlow Independent Schools, Northern Kentucky Educational Cooperative Services, Boone County and Campbell County Area Technology Centers and Gateway Community and Technical College have been awarded $2,690,000 to address the workforce gap in the construction trades in Northern Kentucky.
Brian Miller, Executive Vice President of the HBA that operates the Enzweiler Building Institute and lead applicant said, "We would like to thank the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative Advisory Committee for addressing workforce shortages in five economic sectors in the Commonwealth. We are experiencing the greatest need for skilled construction trades people since immediately following World War II. In our region, we will need over 46,500 of these future professionals working in core components of construction in the next ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That doesn't even account for the many roofers, flooring installers, landscapers, and other trades people that install and build other components of construction. Regionally, we are experiencing a lack of brick and mortar capacity to address the need and are thankful for our partners and those involved with Governor Bevin's Initiative so that we can make positive headway in training skilled construction trades people and getting them to work. In the coming years as our aging workforce retires we will have a great need to fill management and ownership positions in our industry. Want-to-be entrepreneurs in our region need to seriously investigate the construction trades as a place to plant their flag to takeover start and build construction companies," Miller concluded.
"The Boone County School district is thrilled to be a partner in this innovative regional approach to address an education gap for our students who wish to pursue a career in the skilled trades. By working with the Home Builders Association, as well as the other partner districts, we will be on the cutting edge of skilled trades training. This will mean better career awareness and education options for many of our students who would otherwise not have the chance to enhance their career readiness," noted Dr. Randy Poe, Superintendent of Boone County Schools. Tom Arnzen, Director of Student Engagement, The Kenton County School District echoed Poe's excitement. "These funds address the region's workforce gap by allowing more student opportunities through expansion of their current program through this private industry driven initiative. Without this expansion, fewer of our students would be trained and the gap would grow - leading to a potential future housing crisis. With these grant funds, it provides our students with additional opportunities (not just university track) in a skilled labor career track for jobs that are available now, and in the future. They can be the construction trades entrepreneurs of the future and add to the region's job creation; not just jobs, but well-paying careers for a tremendous return on investment," said Arnzen. "I am beyond thrilled with the opportunities this grant provides for Campbell County and Northern Kentucky in terms of addressing the current gaps in our workforce; specifically, in the construction trades. I am a firm believer in the importance of building strong partnerships that yield high end results to benefit the community. This grant will certainly open new doors for both students and adults, allowing them to be more competitive and productive like never before," said Dr. David Rust, Superintendent of Campbell County Schools. "The Work Ready Skills Initiative will leave a lasting impact across our region, and as a school superintendent, I couldn't be more pleased with this important investment being made in the future of Kentucky students," Rust Concluded. Mike Borchers, Superintendent of Ludlow Independent Schools agreed, "The Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative grant will allow the Home Builders Association to work collaboratively with local districts to offer more programs that will prepare our students for the workforce. As a region, we understand that the unmet need for these programs must be addressed and we have students who have an interest and desire to work in the construction industry."
The funding will be used to expand the Enzweiler Building Institute to include a masonry lab, welding lab and heavy diesel mechanics for construction lab. The existing carpentry shop will double in size. A large events center will include accordion walls and repurposed to subdivide the space into four separate classrooms. The building will be renovated to accommodate heavy traffic flows for upsized attendance. Technology will be installed throughout the Institute including large smart boards, television displays and state of the art projection systems. A new website for the regional partnership will be launched through the funds as will top end education software to integrate students, administration and instructors. As a result, expanded areas of instruction will be made available to the Boone County Area Technology Center in plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), carpentry and masonry.
An abandoned pod of the retired Alexandria Elementary School in Campbell County will be renovated to accommodate adult evening instruction to become the Enzweiler Building Institute's Campbell County Campus. Six classrooms will be improved including plumbing and HVAC classrooms that will be shared by both daytime High School students, adult evening learners and allow for expanded programming for the Campbell County Area Technology Center. Other classrooms will be upgraded to provide introduction to construction courses for High School students, including a shared learning lab that will allow for floor to roof building systems to be erected indoors. Further adult evening programming of the Enzweiler Building Institute will be supplied materials and equipment at the Campbell County Area Technology Center. Identical technology upgrades will be included that are to be installed in the Enzweiler Building Institute's main campus.
Students graduating from Enzweiler Building Institute's HVAC courses currently receive credit at Gateway Career and Technical College towards an associates degree. Programming portions of the partnership will eventually create dual credit for all the Institute's courses and for dual credit from High School Area Technology Centers to the Institute's evening programming as an effort outlined in the grant.