The expansion of construction in the 1960’s created an increased demand for trades people.
Under a federal grant obtained through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the association began a carpenter training program in 1967 to fill a need for trades people. It was the first such program of a local builders’ association in the United States and continues to be one of the largest. The Enzweiler Building Institute is a model for other associations in the NAHB federation.
The initial program was an intensive six weeks in classroom and on the job training.
Students were recruited through the Kentucky Bureau of Unemployment and Job Corps. A local vocational school provided classrooms. Students received physicals and a weekly stipend. On the job training involved assistance in building a home under construction by a builder or an “extremely sturdy” cabin for boys’ camp counselors at Camp Marydale.
This initial effort in 1967 was duplicated several times and gave impetus to the establishment of a four-year program in carpentry. A four-year program in electricity began in 1978 and a three-year program in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) in 1984. Facilities Maintenance was added in 2009. Plumbing, Masonry and Welding were added in 2012. In 2021 Diesel Mechanics for construction will be added.
Today the Institute offers evening programs in seven trades – Carpentry, Diesel Mechanics for Heavy Equipment, Facilities Maintenance & Remodeling, HVAC, Masonry, Plumbing and Welding – and four-year program in Electric. The program’s purpose is to provide a knowledgeable, well-trained workforce for the local construction industry.
Today the Institute offers a two-year evening program in six trades – Carpentry, HVAC, Facilities Maintenance, Welding, Plumbing – and four-year program in Electric. The program’s purpose is to provide a knowledgeable, well-trained workforce for the local construction industry.
The program boasts of some 2,000 graduates in the trades, many of whom are now leading the industry at the highest levels. An Introduction to Trades course was begun in 2016, which brings high school students to the Boone County campus during the school day to learn the basics of carpentry, electric, plumbing, welding and HVAC.
Graduate Phil Duncan went on to establish his own building business, P. T. Duncan Builder. Jack Herbstreit, a graduate, teacher, and Carpentry Committee Chair for twelve years distinguished himself as Senior Vice President of Production at The Drees Company. Alan Goetz, also of the Drees Company and Don Reckers who established his own business were early graduates of the program. Mike Quinn, owner of Quinn Electric, Mark Kramer, owner of Townsley Electric, Jim Cutter, owner of Cutter Construction, Bill Butt, owner of Bill’s Remodeling and Electric, along with many others are graduates of the institute.
Instructors and Admission
The school is responsible for offering a well-rounded program of instruction in evening classes twice weekly for six months of each year. Employers are responsible for on the job training of those enrolled. The program is approved for veteran benefits as well as financial assistance through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. In 2019 Kentucky Excellence in Educational (KEES) Scholarships were passed into law for students in some programs at the Institute.
Instructors are men and women who work in their respective trades every day and can give students the benefit of their practical experience as well as an understanding of the theoretical basis for their various job applications.
enzweiler building institute
The Institute has been awarded NAHB’s Best Workforce Development Program eight times in its long history; seven of which were awarded in the last decade.
Participation in Career Days, shop classes and trade related classes at high schools are on-going activities of the Institute’s Director to promote construction related careers and opportunities. Well over 50 of such visits are made each year.
In 2018 the association created the Construction Career Connection in order to introduce hundreds of High School and Middle School students to what it is like to operate tools and heavy equipment. That same year we launched the Big Dig, which welcomes thousands of young people to experience the same, in an ongoing mission to capture the interest of children and their influencers about careers in the construction trades. Both events are also winners of NAHB’s Association Excellence Awards.