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Hands-on Learning Builds Careers and Homes

Easterseals Redwood understands the importance of hands-on learning for building confidence and competence in the next generation of the workforce. As the recipient of a Department of Labor YouthBuild grant, Easterseals Redwood helps construction students explore the vast array of construction careers available to them. This is accomplished through the completion of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Carpentry certification and hands-on learning.

Through YouthBuild grants, Easterseals Redwood has completed several home renovations. However, during the pandemic, it was difficult to secure a property and find contractors and construction materials at reasonable rates. 

When Debbie Smith, Vice President of Education for Employment, and Emiley Crawford, Director of Workforce Transformation, were introduced to Greg Barney, President of the UniBilt, an idea was born to have the students work on building a prefabricated modular home.

Barney met with Easterseals Redwood and its social enterprise, Building Value, to plan the placement of the modular home in Walnut Hills. For more than a year, Building Value and YouthBuild students and instructors designed the house. Students and staff even toured the UniBilt facility in Vandalia, Ohio, to learn about the modular process and see how the skills they were learning through the NCCER would apply to a career in construction.

The YouthBuild students then prepared and stabilized the site for the home placement and construction students will finish the work on-site using new skills they learned in the Easterseals Redwood construction lab.

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