DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — While it might only be a card to the students who picked one up March 3, Marble Falls High School and Hill Country Builders Association officials know it can help open a world of opportunities for the youth.
“There are some great opportunities to network through this,” Principal Manny Lunoff said.
HCBA and the high school announced a partnership during an assembly with the building trades students that gave each one a membership in the National Association of Home Builders as well as began a collaboration that will benefit all involved — from builders to students.
Matt Fields, of HCBA and FieldsCo Builders, explained that, along with the networking possibilities, the membership provides a chance for students who come out of the school’s building trades program with certifications and training a leg up on finding jobs.
And employers in the building trades industry are hungry for skilled and trained individuals.
“You ask any guy in construction right now, and they’ll tell you they need skilled building trades workers,” Fields said. “There are just not enough out there right now.”
One of the goals of the school’s building trades program, as well as the entire Career and Technology Education program, is to train students in those in-demand skills with certification so they can become “workforce ready.” Fields said the program set up at the high school offers students just that opportunity.
“If these students will take advantage of what’s offered here, they’ll be potentially workforce ready as soon as they graduate,” he said.
Lorraine Urey of the Texas Association of Builders told the students the average annual income for a person starting out in the building trades industry is $37,000.
But the national membership, which was underwritten by Winsborough Construction, is only a start of the partnership.
Fields said HCBA members are already contributing materials and supplies to the high school program. And the association members are looking at helping with Mentor Mondays.
Marble Falls school district CTE director Bruce Peckover said in order to ensure the students are getting the right training and skills, the school is reaching out to local building trades professionals for insight and guidance.
“We’re always looking for ways to partner with the community and businesses,” he said. “Who better to know what the students need to learn than those future potential employers — the professionals in the industry already. So what we’re planning is having a different professional trades person come in on Mondays when the students are studying a particular topic, and that individual can actually show them how it’s done.
“That way, the students will learn it directly from someone who does it,” Peckover said.
Fields said the partnership strengthens the local building trades industry, HCBA and the school because everybody involved benefits.
Go to hillcountrybuilders.org or marblefallsisd.org for more information.