On September 4, 2018, in partnership with the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the YouthWorks! program—operated by KRA for the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation—celebrated the opening of its Construction Academy with an enrollment of 13 students, nine of which graduated on January 11, 2019.
HBI is the creator of the award-winning, results-driven PACT [Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training] Program that combines academic learning and vocational hands-on instruction.
From January 2019 and March 2020, thirty-eight more students enrolled, with 21 earning PACT certification, 19 gaining training-related employment, 9 placed in paid work-experience programs, and 10, unfortunately, in limbo status due to Maryland-enforced COVID-19 restrictions.
With hands-on training suspended, on March 20, HBI launched CTEtechWorks to support the students’ continuing education during the pandemic “lock down” status. Through this Online Learning portal, HBI offers 10 “career technical education” programs from Brick Masonry to Weatherization, with YouthWorks! students completing an aggregate of more than 100 programs.
Anthony Featherstone, KRA Director of Workforce Operations, commented, “This is a great occupational-skills training program! It enables our students, 20% of whom are female, to pursue a career path—with both portability and stability—as an industry professional or even as an entrepreneur some day. Furthermore, since PACT operates on an open-enrollment basis, completion and certification are based solely on competency, rather than on a fixed timetable.
In collaboration with HBI, we are hopeful to resume hands-on training in late June or early July, so we can offer both current and new students a comprehensive, blended training opportunity.”