When shop classes were phased out of the high school classroom, some students were left out of the equation – students who would otherwise be able to develop their interests and talents in trade skills, leading to potential career paths within the construction industry or beyond. And with skill-based education being unavailable as a launch point for a vocational school or a career in trades, the skilled labor market is subsequently feeling the impact.

In response to these issues, the HBA of Colorado Springs created a unique program, Careers in Construction, with the intent of providing a valuable option for local high school students who are considering careers in construction. The HBA is partnering with area school districts, industry professionals, trades and associations – including the Associated General Contractors of Colorado – to provide training programs that will introduce students to the basics of construction. The program is designed to lead students directly to a job after high school, to a trade school, or to a traditional college.

The program grew out of the HBA’s strategic planning process in 2014. Interest increased as member focus groups revealed significant concern about the labor shortage. The program was then adopted into the HBA’s 2015 business plan, and the Workforce Development Committee was created to help make the program a reality. Now, more than 500 students within four districts are enrolled in the Careers in Construction program. Districts are encouraged to follow the Home Builders Institute (HBI) curriculum, in which students are introduced to the tools and basic skills for plumbing, electrical, HVAC and carpentry.


Careers in Construction is HBA’s non-profit workforce development program that gives local high school students pathways to success in the building trades or beyond, whether they choose a trade school, a traditional college, or direct employment. With sustained funding and allies in the industry, the program will help to grow a skilled workforce within the construction industry, as well as offer a promising future for young adults in our community.