Where will the entry-level workers come from to bring construction employment back to historic levels? Apprenticeship programs and community colleges are part of the equation. Construction-oriented specialty schools is another potential source. Construction companies and suppliers alike are vested in getting employment back up so there are enough workers to handle the upcoming construction economic improvement.
The Do School is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that focuses on building economic mobility in underserved sectors of the city. It pioneered an innovative approach to skills training in the construction industry, providing it for marginalized residents of low-wealth neighborhoods. Do School’s 20-week training program prepares students for jobs in the construction and remodeling industry as they refurbish houses in East Winston N.C. and revitalize the area. DS then sells the houses to first-time homeowners and others.
CollegeNET, a technology company based in Portland, Oregon designs and builds on-demand SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) technologies that help colleges and universities improve operational efficiency, enhance communication with constituents, and save resources. The company supports greater affordability and access to higher education and has made a grant of $30,000 to the Do School. The funds will help provide crucial materials, machinery, and other resources.
Do School brings women and men from underserved communities into a live learning environment with training in the construction trades. The process begins with the purchase of a house that needs repair and has depressed property value. The house becomes a platform for training students about the various aspects of the home renovation process.
Once complete, the property is made available to purchase through a first-time homebuyer’s initiative. The renovated homes help boost surrounding property values and vitality of the neighborhood, while proceeds from the sale allow Do School to purchase additional properties and continue providing skills training opportunities.
An initial partnership among Do School, Piedmont Federal Savings Bank, and The Winston-Salem Foundation helped kickstart the pilot program with funds to cover the cost of purchasing and renovating the first property.
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