Campaign aims to spark youths' interest

Kids

Campaign aims to spark youths' interest in constructing houses

By jsawyer

8Kids 'Building Homes of Our Own' transforms students into virtual builders via computer

As leaders in the home building industry, it's important that we give something back to the future builders, tradesmen and women and home buyers in our communities.

We aim to mentor the next generation so that the professionalism and tradition of home building in America continues.

The National Association of Home Builders, along with the Baldwin County Home Builders Association, works in several ways to introduce young people to the industry, provide educational support and resources to our nation's schools and foster greater opportunities for training and education in home building and construction careers.

NAHB's Building Homes of Our Own is a simulation program that transforms students into virtual builders and, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, challenges them to build and sell their computer-generated home to a qualified buyer - on time and on budget.

They learn the fundamentals of the home building process while gaining an understanding of the real-world applications of math, science, social studies, language arts and technology. And they learn that if you have poor credit or unstable employment, the dream of home ownership may fade from your grasp.

Launched in September 2002, Building Homes of Our Own has reached more than 3 million students, teachers and parents nationwide. It's free to educators, and word of mouth among teachers has catapulted the program into classrooms teaching both core subjects and career and life skills disciplines.

The CD-ROM-based learning simulation has earned many accolades, most recently as a finalist in the Computers for Youth Family Software of the Year Award selected by the eight top U.S. school districts and evaluated by a panel of middle school students for its educational value.

While middle and high school students can enjoy playing a leading-edge educational game in school, NAHB's philanthropic arm, the National Housing Endowment, has just embarked on a program to develop and enhance residential construction management programs at colleges and universities. Through the Homebuilding Education Leadership Program, the endowment will work with two- and four-year colleges and universities to develop new residential construction course work, increase the number of faculty who teach the courses, and increase industry involvement in student competitions.

The home building industry has a great need for construction managers and other positions that require college course work.

It might surprise many people to learn that the average starting salary for a college graduate in a construction management position is between $50, 000 and $55,000 annually and has tremendous growth opportunity. Compare that to starting salaries for other professions:

*Business degree grads - $39,448.00

*Accounting - $43,809

*Chemical engineering - $54,296

*And registered nurses - $38,775

Not only are there opportunities in the home building industry for managers, but a huge range of jobs including carpentry, plumbing, sales, electricians and more are needed to fuel home building today.

The Home Builders Institute, NAHB's work force development arm works to train craftsmen and skilled workers to prepare them for a career in home building. Through its Residential Construction Academy, Job Corps programs, Apprenticeship Training programs and NAHB Student Chapters, HBI helps students in high schools, vocational schools and community colleges learn more about residential construction and the benefits of working in the industry.

Recently, NAHB, in collaboration with ConstructionJobs.com, launched a building industry-oriented career center that will help the industry with a cost-effective recruiting solution that makes locating qualified candidates and advertising open positions faster and easier. Learn more by visiting www. buildingcareers.org.

From middle school through college, home builders are working to provide educational resources to teachers, help more students learn about the industry and potential career opportunities and focus on developing the next generation of workers who will build our vibrant communities. -Baldwin County HBA


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