Partners weigh in on what $2.69 million in HBA Work Ready Skills Initiative funding means for the region


NKyTribune staff

The Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky (HBA) through its Enzweiler Building Institute and community partners has been awarded $2.69 million to address the workforce gap in the construction trades in Northern Kentucky.

HBA/Northern Kentucky Regional Construction Partnership projected impact. Chart courtesy of the Enzweiler Building Insititute (click to enlarge).

Brian Miller, Executive Vice President of the HBA, which operates the Enzweiler Building Institute and was the lead applicant, said the industry is experiencing the greatest need for skilled construction trades people since immediately following World War II.

“We would like to thank the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative Advisory Committee for addressing workforce shortages in five economic sectors in the Commonwealth In our region,” Miller said. “We will need over 46,500 of these future professionals working in core components of construction in the next ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That doesn’t even account for the many roofers, flooring installers, landscapers, and other trades people that install and build other components of construction.”

Partners include Boone County Schools, Kenton County Board of Education, Campbell County Schools, Ludlow Independent Schools, Northern Kentucky Educational Cooperative Services, Boone County and Campbell County Area Technology Centers and Gateway Community and Technical College.

Miller and several of the community partners weighed in on what the funding means for the region and provided some details on how it would be used.

“The Boone County School District is thrilled to be a partner in this innovative regional approach to address an education gap for our students who wish to pursue a career in the skilled trades,” said Dr. Randy Poe, Superintendent of Boone County Schools. “By working with the Home Builders Association, as well as the other partner districts, we will be on the cutting edge of skilled trades training. This will mean better career awareness and education options for many of our students who would otherwise not have the chance to enhance their career readiness.”

Daytime introduction of classes for the 2016-17 school year (photos provided by Enzweiler Building Institute).

A new website for the regional partnership will be launched through the funds, as will top end education software to integrate students, administration and instructors.  As a result, expanded areas of instruction will be made available to the Boone County Area Technology Center in plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), carpentry and masonry.

Tom Arnzen, Director of Student Engagement, The Kenton County School District said the funds address the region’s workforce gap by allowing more student opportunities through expansion of their current program through this private industry driven initiative.

“Without this expansion, fewer of our students would be trained and the gap would grow – leading to a potential future housing crisis,” Arnzen said. “With these grant funds, it provides our students with additional opportunities (not just university track) in a skilled labor career track for jobs that are available now, and in the future.  They can be the construction trades entrepreneurs of the future and add to the region’s job creation; not just jobs, but well-paying careers for a tremendous return on investment.”

An abandoned pod of the retired Alexandria Elementary School in Campbell County will be renovated to accommodate adult evening instruction to become the Enzweiler Building Institute’s Campbell County Campus. Six classrooms will be improved including plumbing and HVAC classrooms that will be shared by both daytime high school students, adult evening learners and allow for expanded programming for the Campbell County Area Technology Center.

Other classrooms will be upgraded to provide introduction to construction courses for High School students, including a shared learning lab that will allow for floor to roof building systems to be erected indoors.

Dr. David Rust, Superintendent of Campbell County Schools, said the Work Ready Skills Initiative is an important investment in the future of Kentucky students that will leave a lasting impact across the region.

“I am beyond thrilled with the opportunities this grant provides for Campbell County and Northern Kentucky in terms of addressing the current gaps in our workforce; specifically, in the construction trades,” Rust said. “I am a firm believer in the importance of building strong partnerships that yield high end results to benefit the community. This grant will certainly open new doors for both students and adults, allowing them to be more competitive and productive like never before.”

Further adult evening programming of the Enzweiler Building Institute will include supplied materials and equipment at the Campbell County Area Technology Center.  Identical technology upgrades will be included and are to be installed in the Enzweiler Building Institute’s main campus.

A graphic showing all of the potential participating schools in the partnership (Click to enlarge).

The funding will also be used to expand the Enzweiler Building Institute to include a masonry lab, welding lab and heavy diesel mechanics for construction lab.  The existing carpentry shop will double in size.  A large events center will include accordion walls and will be repurposed to subdivide the space into four separate classrooms.

The building will be renovated to accommodate heavy traffic flows for upsized attendance and technology will be installed throughout the Institute, including large smart boards, television displays and state of the art projection systems.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative grant will allow the Home Builders Association to work collaboratively with local districts to offer more programs that will prepare our students for the workforce, said Mike Borchers, Superintendent of Ludlow Independent Schools. “As a region, we understand that the unmet need for these programs must be addressed and we have students who have an interest and desire to work in the construction industry.”

Students graduating from Enzweiler Building Institute’s HVAC courses currently receive credit at Gateway Career and Technical College towards an associates degree.  Programming portions of the partnership will eventually create dual credit for all the Institute’s courses and for dual credit from High School Area Technology Centers to the Institute’s evening programming as an effort outlined in the grant.

“Regionally, we are experiencing a lack of brick and mortar capacity to address the need and are thankful for our partners and those involved with Governor Bevin’s Initiative so that we can make positive headway in training skilled construction trades people and getting them to work,” Miller said. “In the coming years as our aging workforce retires we will have a great need to fill management and ownership positions in our industry.  Want-to-be entrepreneurs in our region need to seriously investigate the construction trades as a place to plant their flag to take over start, and build construction companies.”

To view the full Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative Northern Kentucky Regional Construction Partnership application, click here. The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2018-2019 school year.

Enrollment is now open for the 2017-2018 school year and many of the upgrades to existing construction are expected to be included in time for that session.

To learn more about the Enzweiler Building Institute, contact Shawn Cox, Director of Professional Development, at 859-331-9500, by email at  or click here .

Those interested in a high school student learning more about the introduction to trades programs should contact Boone County Schools, The Kenton County School District, Ludlow Independent Schools, or the Northern Kentucky Educational Cooperative Service for the 2017-2018 school year.

Introduction to trades for high school Students at the Campbell County Campus is expected to begin in time for the 2018-2019 school year.


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