Enzweiler Building Institute enrolling for fall semester; school specializes in various trade careers


By David Kubota
NKyTribune reporter

The Enzweiler Building Institute in Erlanger is currently enrolling students for its fall classes, and school administrators credit community connections as the reason for its continued success.

The school specializes in training individuals in the trade practices which include; carpentry, plumbing, electricity, welding and HVAC. The new fall class will represent the 51st group of students to become trade graduates.

The institute is the longest running and one of the largest post-secondary apprenticeship training programs in the country, run under the auspices of the National Association of Home Builders and NKY’s Building Industry Association.

The demand for these labor careers is rising, with an estimated 46,000 job openings in the region in the next 10 years. Coupled with graduates being able to earn $40,000-$50,000 after graduation, with a lower investment than traditional four-year college, the school may be an alternative for those seeking a different style of education.

Students at the Enzweiler Building Institute are able to get hands-on training with realistic model air conditioners as part of their classroom experience. (Photo by David Kubota)

An estimated 200 students will enroll this year with classes beginning in September. The school takes on an “earn while you learn” approach and gives students the flexibility to hold other full or part-time jobs while attending classes.

Brian Miller, the executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky, said that there isn’t a better time to enroll.

“The trade industry is facing an aging workforce and there is a demand for these jobs we haven’t seen since World War II,” he said. “Our graduates are going to be employed, there’s no question about it.”

Miller also argues that a cultural shift is occurring in which young Americans are beginning to realize that college isn’t the only real option for a career path. The Enzweiler Building Institute’s tuition hovers around $2,000, depending on which career path the student chooses.

“I tell many of my students ‘there isn’t anybody more helpless than a lawyer with a broken toilet.’” Miller said. “These are careers that will always be in demand.”

Along with the aging workforce, many family business owners in the industry are in search of young talent. These businesses are looking to either shut down or be sold, and they are prime opportunities for young workers to be placed at the helm of their own businesses.

Miller said that the Enzweiler Building Institute is viewed as a model for other trade-based schools and emphasized the importance of the graduates coming out of their programs.

“If we don’t have these sorts of people in our economy, our economy will fail,” he said.

Deconstructions of various industry items allow students to get hands-on experience and help in understanding how these pieces function. (Photo by David Kubota)

Having operated for such an extended period of time, the institute holds a special place in the community. Most Northern Kentucky business owners in the industry have graduated from the trade school.

Mark Kramer, owner of Townsley Electrical Contractors, graduated from the school in the 1970s and eventually become sole owner of Townsley Electric.

“A huge part of my success was due to the fact that I completed the Enzweiler program,” he said.

Shawn Cox is the Director of Professional Development at the Enzweiler Building Institute and discussed how the school is expanding.

“Regional partnerships and the support we receive from high schools is key,” he said. “I’ve probably gone on 30 school visits where we talk to high schoolers about our program.”

The Building Institute has partnered with nearby high schools to provide students with a means of learning hands-on. Students spend time in workshops and learn about carpentry or plumbing.

In terms of their own educational programs, the Building Institute focuses on employing instructors who are actively working in the industry. This gives the instructors the skills and knowledge to keep up with industry trends.

“The great part about being a private school is our afforded flexibility,” Cox said. “We can change our curriculum to respond to needs within the industry as quickly as the next day.”

The carpentry workshop where Kevin McKnight teaches at the Enzweiler Building Institute. (Photo by David Kubota)

New expansions for the Building Institute are in motion and include adding classes in masonry that will require the main building in Erlanger to be expanded. Additionally, a new secondary location for the school will be added in Campbell County at the retired Alexandria Elementary School.

By teaching carpentry, instructor Kevin McKnight sees students daily in his woodworking shop. McKnight believes that the confidence, safety, and employability of the careers makes them appealing coupled with the hands-on nature of trade practices.

“When you work in these careers you can look at something and say ‘I built that’” and that’s a really good feeling,” he said.

The trade industry is not just for men, and McKnight finds that most of his female students have a better eye for design aesthetics.

Earlier this summer, Miller and Cox attended meetings in Frankfort to pass a bill that would allow students who have access to Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, funds to use toward the Enzweiler Building Institute. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in their efforts.

To learn more about the Enzweiler Building Institute and to register for classes, visit their website by clicking here.

David Kubota is a Scripps Howard Foundation intern at the NKyTribune this summer. He is a student at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

NOTE: Classes for new students start September 4. Orientation, which is mandatory, is August 23, 6-8 p.m. at the BIA offices in Erlanger.

Sign up for classes here.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *