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Industry leaders launch the Colorado Homebuilding Academy

BuildStrong Academy Blog.

Construction skills bootcamp

The Colorado Homebuilding Academy, led by Oakwood Homes, is serving under-employed and unemployed adults, military veterans and youth.

DENVER (Mar 30, 2017) Fueled by a shortage of qualified workers in nearly every job in the homebuilding industry, construction industry leaders in Colorado are launching the Colorado Homebuilding Academy, a construction school that will elevate and support youth and adults starting careers in homebuilding.

Designed by construction and education industry leaders, the Colorado Homebuilding Academy (the Academy) is dedicated to advancing homebuilding opportunities for businesses, workers, job seekers and students. It pulls the best practices of existing industry training under one roof, providing a hands-on, training-to-placement approach to prepare its students for a meaningful career in homebuilding. At the same time, the Academy provides employers with qualified, motivated and skilled workers who can meet industry demands now and into the future.

“The homebuilding industry has been plagued by a shortage of high-quality workers,” said Pat Hamill, chairman and chief executive of Oakwood Homes who had the vision to unite the industry in creating the Academy. “Preparing and training the workforce is the key to ensuring our industry remains healthy.”
The residential construction industry has seen its workforce dwindle because of a lack of vocational education at schools, a cultural shift away from blue collar work and a loss of talent during the economic downturn. Nearly 200,000 construction industry jobs nationwide are vacant at a boom time for homebuilders — a jump of 81 percent in just two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

Created to address that shortage, the Colorado Homebuilding Academy is led by Michael Smith, who most recently was the executive director of Colorado Construction Institute (CCI), a non-profit organization working to address the construction labor shortage. Founded in 2012, CCI is responsible for launching many successful construction training programs for both youth and adults.

“I am proud to join a team of talented and committed people focused on creating a sustainable solution to the industry’s labor shortage,” Smith said. “The Home Builders Association of Metro Denver is an integral partner to our team. To provide a sustainable industry solution to an industry problem, we all have to work together.”

The Academy is working to solve the labor needs of today, as well as develop the workforce of tomorrow with its Building Pathways program. Towards that end, the Academy is targeting adult students who are under-employed or unemployed and transitioning military veterans who are seeking a rewarding career with competitive pay and benefits. The Academy is also currently working with five high schools in the Denver Metro area and plans to double the number of partner schools next year. The Building Pathways program takes place both in classrooms and the field, and offers practical, focused and industry-aligned pathways to jobs.

The Academy will offer a range of educational, training and placement programs designed to inspire and prepare workers for numerous career options in the homebuilding industry. The curriculum, which includes Construction Skills Bootcamp, Superintendent Training and Infrastructure Bootcamp, will launch a Contractor Development series later this year. The Academy’s website, which includes additional information, is

Partners joining Oakwood Homes in this training mission include Precision Building Systems, The Foundation for Educational Excellence, the University of Denver Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.


About the Foundation for Educational Excellence

Since 1997, the Foundation for Educational Excellence (the Foundation) has been involved with numerous education reform initiatives and school construction projects, as well as several early childhood and family support programs. One of the Foundation’s most successful partnerships has been with the Book Trust organization. Since 2012, 20,000+ students in Far Northeast Denver have selected and received books of their choice—totaling more than 455,000 free books. Every child deserves an opportunity to fall in love with reading and this partnership encourages a culture of early literacy in classrooms, at home and in the broader community.

About Oakwood Homes LLC

Oakwood Homes is Colorado’s largest privately held hometown builder and premier master-planned community developer. Oakwood was founded in 1991 and has committed to providing the best new-home value in the marketplace. Oakwood has delivered over 10,000 homes to date.

Oakwood, as well as its founder Pat Hamill, have been recognized as leading community philanthropists. Through the Foundation for Educational Excellence they have committed to education reform and early childhood education. In the past, Pat Hamill served as co-chair of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission for the State of Colorado, as well as Chairman of Colorado Concern, an organization that focuses on business issues and education reform for the state of Colorado. In 2015, Hamill was named Corporate Citizen of the Year by the Denver Business Journal.