Posted February 28, 2018

Kansas City partnership gives inmates career options

HBA and ABC received grant to help train inmates to enter construction careers. 

The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA), in partnership with the local Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) chapter and Workforce Partnership, received a $200,000 state grant to train inmates with the skills needed to start a career in the construction industry when they re-enter the workforce.

With the help of the grant, the partnership created a create a six-week training program for individuals in the Johnson County Department of Corrections Adult Residential Center. The first training program will begin with about 15 students on March 5. Once training is completed and the individuals receive employment, up to 50% of their salaries during the first six weeks of on-the-job training will be paid for as well.

“The HBA has created a multi-pronged approach to address the shortage and we are excited to partner with ABC and Workforce Partnership to roll out this program as one facet of that initiative,” said HBA Executive Vice President Josh Clark.

The HBA believes creating partnerships and arming yourself with local workforce data are two keys to securing state money to address this issue. To better understand the state of skilled labor in its local construction industry, the HBA conducted a workforce demographic survey of its members last year. It also reached out to the county contractor licensing department to include subcontractors.

The results clearly showed that local employers needed a training facility for the skilled trades. The study was included in the grant proposal and was a critical component to securing funding for the training program.

“We started our workforce initiative last summer by working with NAHB to create a strategic plan and we immediately began executing that plan,” said Clark. “Eight months later, we are about to start our first training program. It took hard work from several members of our staff who dedicated a lot of their time to implementing that strategy, but it’s meeting a vital need that can’t be ignored.”

HBAs can check out NAHB’s Skilled Workforce Development Resources for a variety of tools to help you address the labor shortage, including state-specific wage and workforce demand data. The HBA Models & Samples section includes examples of successful HBA programs that can be replicated in other markets.

Members can also share public resources with educators and industry partners at For more information, contact Greg Zick.