Florida HBA Developing the Leaders of the Future

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Many local builders associations have created workforce development programs in partnership with state associations and NAHB. Florida has been a leader in this effort with its unique Future Builders of America program.

Created in 2003, the FBA program is part of the independent, non-profit FHBA Foundation, which works closely with the Florida Home Builders Association, parent organization to the local associations throughout Florida.

The Foundation has three goals: 1) the establishment of Future Builders of America chapters in schools across the state. 2) Scholarship funding for students who desire to pursue higher education opportunities in the building industry. And 3) An annual summer camp experience for students to learn more about the construction industry.

The Collier Building Industry Association, based in Naples, helped launch the first FBA chapter in 2003, working with Lely High School and its Construction Academy. Today there are more than two dozen FBA chapters in Florida.

Founded in 1999, the Lely High School Construction Academy has more than 125 students who want to pursue careers in the building industry.

In partnership with CBIA and Habitat for Humanity, students have built three homes for low income families in the Lely area. Academy students have built the homes themselves with guidance from their teacher and a general contractor member of CBIA. The students are currently working on their fourth home in Naples Manor.

CBIA donates the money for the purchase of the homesite and the Academy students provide the labor. During construction, CBIA member companies also donate time and materials for the project and for the on-going program.

One of the most unique aspects of the FBA program at the state level is the summer camp. Located about 20 miles east of Tallahassee, the camp sits on about 500 acres.

Thanks to a generous donation of more than a half million dollars, the Foundation owns the camp free and clear and has money to fund the student-built construction of facilities.

Students participate in the camp by working with their local FBA chapters. The program includes training in building practices and also traditional camp activities like ropes courses, campfires and boat races. The difference is students build the boats themselves.

For a look at what goes on at FBA camp, watch this video.

The donation that got the FBA camp rolling was from Robert and Amy Harper of Polk County Florida, which is between Tampa and Orlando.

Harper is a Past President of the Polk County BA and FHBA’s 1996 President. Harper has a strong reputation as a leader, taking a family approach to problems, so a summer camp for students looking for building industry careers seems like a natural extension of his family’s commitment.

Harper has been named builder of the year twice by FHBA and is a member of the prestigious Florida Housing Hall of Fame.

Bonded Builders Warranty Group is proud to be one of many sponsors who make the FBA program and the camp possible. To learn more about FBA, visit the website or call (800) 261-9447.

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