The North Alabama Homebuilding Academy has partnered with Drake State Community & Technical College to provide students a pathway to advance their construction skills while earning college credit and certificates.
Started a year ago, the North Alabama Homebuilding Academy provides basic, entry-level construction skills in an eight-week course setting. At the end of the eight-week program, a job fair is held to match program graduates with employers. In the year NAHA has been in operation, almost 100 graduates have completed the training program.
Now, those students can apply to Drake State to further their skills and earn certificates and college credit.
“This partnership gives students the chance to build on technical training and propel themselves forward in their chosen careers by converting work training and experience to college credits,” said Patricia Sims, president of Drake State Community & Technical College. “This program allows students to earn while they learn.”
Barry Oxley, executive director of the Huntsville Madison County Homebuilders Association, pointed out that many of the NAHA students were earning minimum wage before taking part in the academy’s eight-week program. After completion, they are earning, on average, more than $14 an hour.
“We need trades people now. The trades pay well,” Oxley said. “Drake is providing our students with the next step.”
For students to be eligible to attend NAHA classes, they must be 18 years old, submit and pass a drug screening and be legally authorized to work in the U.S.