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In Phoenix, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona’s (HBACA) charitable arm, Home Builders Care (HBC), held an open house on Aug. 15 for its new 11,000-square-foot residential construction skilled trades training center.

The Home Building Academy, funded primarily by a workforce development grant through Maricopa County and industry investment through HBACA, with additional support from The Home Depot Foundation, is tuition-free for qualified students and will provide a weekly stipend for living expenses for students who maintain satisfactory academic progress, according to the National Association of Home Builders' blog.

“In creating the Academy, we wanted to ensure that we removed as many obstacles to getting training and going to work in the residential construction industry as we could,” said HBC Board member Connie Wilhelm. “We want students who graduate on a Friday to be able to go to work the following Monday, that’s why we provide tools students need to go to work.”

At the Academy, students participate in a nine-week rapid worker training, resulting in industry-recognized certificates in either carpentry or electrical. The first four weeks of the training provide basic construction knowledge such as reading a tape measure, using hand and power tools, and safe work practices including an OSHA 10-hour certificate. The remaining five weeks are trade-specific training.

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