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Five Steps of Service: Connecting Diverse Talent to the Building Industry

A wholistic approach to work-and-learn is laying a solid foundation for developing talent in the building industry. The Home Builders Institute’s Five Steps of Service approach is an “open entry, skilled exit” work-and-learn model that supports individuals at every stage of the employment continuum. The Five Steps represent essential strategies for connecting talent to good jobs: Connect, Assess, Train, Certify and Place.

With a focus on underserved youth, transitioning military members, veterans, secondary school students, displaced workers and justice-involved youth and adults, HBI delivers technical and employability skills training combined with basic academics, moving hard- to-serve populations into high-growth construction careers.


How do companies benefit from this model?  Chicago-based Equity Residential struggled to find qualified talent who had both technical and employability skills (communications, teamwork, etc.) to succeed at the company. In 2009, the company decided to partner with HBI to build a six-week internship program that would recruit, train and place qualified candidates. The concept was to bring on dedicated, recommended students who still needed training, but whose attitudes and personal characteristics were a good fit for the company’s culture. The program leveraged HBI’s Five Steps of Service to build and deploy a program that trains and delivers skilled workers.
For Jamie Preski, Recruiting Manager, Equity Residential of Arlington, the returns are twofold: “We are filling open positions at our company efficiently while giving back to the community and fulfilling our corporate social responsibility.”
The foundation of HBI’s model began in the early 1970s with the Youthful Offender Program, which trained more than 500 youth offenders in entry-level construction skills. In 1974, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) approached the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), inviting the organization to join the Job Corps team as a national construction trade trainer. The concept was to utilize NAHB’s national network of home builders to employ Job Corps graduates.

Over the years, HBI has expanded its work-based learning programs outside of Job Corps to serve a diverse group of companies and talent pools. These programs include the company’s Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT), its Military and Veterans Program, Building Career Pathways Program in high schools and apprenticeships. The common thread throughout all of HBI’s programs is a focus on delivering high-quality training and positive experiences to participants.

Read more about the Five Steps of Service.