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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Students address housing crisis and gain construction experience

Courtesy Guilford County Schools / November 18, 2022

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Builders Vibe winners (L-R) Bernard “B.J.” Barr, Mauricio Rocha and Elizabeth Cook.
Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.

Guilford County Schools’ (GCS) Innovation Office celebrated students in the Fannie Mae Safer Together Green Housing Project Carpentry Pathway students at its Builders Vibe Community Night Out. Through the initiative, high school students have been learning how to address America’s affordable housing crisis while getting hands-on experience in the construction industry.

“It allowed our students to go into communities and remodel a home, one home at a time, impacting communities and thinking about what it means to ensure affordable housing,” stated Dr. Eboni Chillis, chief innovation officer at GCS.

The cohort included students from Grimsley, Southern, High Point Central High Schools and Weaver Academy. In addition to remodeling properties, students also earned industry credentials and up to $20 per hour in pre-apprenticeship programs.

Jasmine Roth from HGTV’S “Help! I’ve Wrecked My House,” headlined the event. Roth led a panel discussion sharing her journey to general contracting and explained why students earning trade skills while in high school is essential to the success of our nation’s economy and their lives.

During the evening event, students demonstrated their skills and had a chance to network with the district’s industry and business partners. The event culminated in a vesting ceremony. Similar to when doctors receive white coats at graduation, the cohort received industry-standard tool belts, safety equipment, and vests to celebrate their work.

Three students who went above and beyond during the program also received bonus checks for $5,000. To receive the money, students were evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Pre-apprentice on at least four of the seven homes renovated
  2. Attend at least three days of the summer learning opportunities
  3. Attend at least two of the training classes at UNCG
  4. Learn concepts on green construction, geospatial technology and weatherization
  5. Complete at least 80 percent of their professional portfolio
  6. Attend and present at least one Builder’s Vibe Community Night Out Event
  7. Complete an application and essay
  8. Have good standing in attendance in and out of school
  9. Exemplifying skills needed in the construction field




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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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