One of the main goals of Don Klein’s presidency (my predecessor), was to expand our commitment to the future of homebuilding through programs of partnership and education. I share this vision and would like to focus on some outstanding successes of association driven involvement in the form of the GHBA Scholarship Program, the Jones Futures Academy, the HBI Acres Homes Construction Training Program, and the GHBA Young Professionals. I hope these examples inspire you to invest deeper in the future of homebuilding.
One of the clearest and most efficient ways to contribute to the future of homebuilding is through the Associate Council’s GHBA Scholarship Program, which provides assistance to members’ children in pursuing a college degree. These scholarships are made possible through the donations of generous association members. The donations are tax deductible and 100% goes directly to student scholarships. In addition, contributors of $3,000 or more will have a scholarship presented in their honor—named after the donor or their company.
As we are all aware, trade shortages have plagued our industry. The GHBA has explored partnerships with several schools to promote construction related education and development.
A great example of this is working with the Jones Futures Academy. JFA is part of the Houston Independent School District offering Academy of Architecture & Construction Technology to district students. This dual enrollment model enables students to fulfill high school graduation requirements while simultaneously earning industry certifications, college credits, and/or an Associate of Arts by the end of their senior year.
Our members have embraced this effort by volunteering to “mentor” students by hosting them at their offices, by taking them to the job site for a first-hand experience, and by speaking at the schools. I believe this is a proactive course to building a trade base that is vital for future construction. Let’s continue this venture and look for additional opportunities for investment.
Another avenue of contribution has been an award-winning construction trade school collaboration.
Following Hurricane Harvey and Irma, Norbord Inc., an international producer of wood-based products, was interested in committing $1 million to construction-related education in Texas and Florida. They reached out to the Home Builders Institute (HBI) to see what could be done. HBI, the educational arm of the National Association of Home Builders, is a national leader for career training in the building industry through their pre-apprenticeship programs, job placement services and certification curricula.
HBI contacted the GHBA, who worked with association members and the City of Houston to start the Acres Homes Home Building Institute Construction Training Program. The school was launched in June of 2018, and in 2019 the GHBA was awarded the HBI Local Community Service Award at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. The Local Community Service Award honors an organization that has made a significant contribution to the local community.
My last example involves working with those who are already in our industry. The GHBA Young Professionals was formed in 2012. While not operating as a formal council or committee anymore, the Young Professional events provide a great networking ground for members under 45. The GHBA YP Committee was one of the first in our industry and became the model for both the state and national homebuilding associations.
I highly suggest attending or sponsoring their events and/or bring a young industry professional to your next GHBA meeting or event. Introduce them to what attracted and retained you as a member. In order for the association to contribute to our industry for years to come, we have to continue to grow and engage our membership. I ask you to be part of that success model. We will all be better for it.
In conclusion, let’s continue to work together to expand in each of these areas, as well as exploring additional areas of impact. We’re not just building homes; we’re also building dreams. Our future is as bright as we make it.