HBI focuses on accomplishing its mission on a day-to-day basis, and in the process, we’re building careers and changing lives. Providing “training and placement of men and women serving the building industry” is what we’re all about and we’re committed to seeing our students succeed, which is why we recently commissioned a study to benchmark the success of our programs.
Over the past several years, we have maintained a job placement rate of more than 80 percent for graduates, including at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military members, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers at our hundreds of programs across the country. We use our Five Steps of Service to support our students at every stage of the employment continuum—by connecting, assessing, training, certifying and placing them in high-growth construction careers.
The study, conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), was commissioned to evaluate the effectiveness of our Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) program at the Highlands Youth Academy (HYA) in Avon Park, Florida. HBI’s PACT program is one of several vocational programs that the students can choose to participate in as part of their requirements at HYA, a juvenile correctional facility.
The AIR study shows that participation in HBI’s PACT program helps to lower recidivism among incarcerated youth. Specifically, the AIR research points out that the likelihood of a participant returning to incarceration within the first six months after release is under seven percent, and it’s even lower if the students get a job within the first six months of release, and the lowest if they also earn a stackable credential.
Another finding highlights the importance of staying connected with our students to help them find a job. Our job placement coordinators perform invaluable tasks to ensure our students are placed in industry jobs. Their relationships with employers in the building industry, the training the students receive from our highly qualified instructors and HBI’s positive reputation in the industry has positioned us well to provide skilled workers who can help solve the labor shortage.
To expand our impact, we are sharing our best practices with our colleagues working to connect youth to good jobs in other industries. Through our participation in the National Network of Business and Industry Associations, a collaboration of 22 business organizations across economic sectors, HBI is showcasing what works in construction that can be applied to any training program in any industry.
In addition to our PACT program, HBI’s Job Corps, Military and Veterans, and Building Careers programs are all focused on reaching the students where they are and helping them succeed. HBI’s newest program, Building Careers, offers school districts across the country the opportunity to partner with us in training 9th-12th graders for careers in the building industry.
Participants in the AIR study commented that HBI’s PACT program gave them “a chance to be employed and make good money” and that the industry-recognized certificates they earn help them land their first jobs. With proof that our programs work, we will continue to partner with current and potential funders and donors to grow our programs and make a difference in the greater community.
John A. Courson is President and Chief Executive Officer of HBI, a national leader for training underserved populations — including and at-risk youth, veterans, military, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers — for careers in the building industry. Since 2011, Courson has managed the $30 million national nonprofit with nearly 300 employees and operations in 44 states.
In addition to HBI’s programs, including the award-winning Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Training (PACT), Job Corps, Veterans and Military, and the Residential Construction Academy (RCA), he oversees the organization’s business development initiatives.
Formerly the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Courson received his undergraduate degree in business and finance from the University of Colorado. He is married to Marcia Courson. They have two children and four grandchildren.
This article originally appeared on Forbes Brand Voice.