Kitsap Building Association introduces new Builder Grant Program

Program intends to address the lack of available workforce in the construction trades

In an effort to address a dwindling workforce in the construction trades, The Kitsap Building Association recently announced its new Builder Grant Program.

The first beneficiary of this new program will be Joseph Meyer of North Kitsap. Meyer will be working in the electrical trade with Jerry Bird of Bird Electric, where he will mentor Meyer for a six-month period. KBA has committed $1,000 over the course of the six-month mentorship program to assist with the purchase of tools, equipment, safety gear and the certification and training needed for the internship.

The Builder Grant Program is designed to provide internship opportunities in the home construction industry with a focus on carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting, coating and HVAC. Selected recipients like Meyer will initially receive $500, $250 after three months and $250 at the end of the internship.

“Our association came up with the idea to provide grant funds to applicants that wanted to get into one of those trades,” said Russ Shiplet, KBA’s executive officer.

“The core of it was to recognize that we are really hurting for an incoming workforce in the trades. We’re kind of training our own if you will.”

Shiplet mentioned that this isn’t just a problem in the county, but a nationwide issue, citing the National Association of Home Builders’ top priority being lack of a ready workforce in the construction trades.

“They are being teamed up with a trained professional and somebody who will give them what they need to head them towards their journeyman’s license, which normally takes about four years to get,” Shiplet said.

“It allows the individual to really kind of try it out and make sure this is something they want to get into. It also allows our mentor members to see what available workforce is out there and what kind of interest there is in wanting to come into these trades.”

The program was just initiated earlier this year when applications first started becoming available. Shiplet said it took KBA about a year to get it all laid out before officially introducing the program. The Builder Grant Program targets 18-to-24 year-olds.

“Since it’s an internship for a six-month period of full-time work, we can’t keep them away from school like that. We are targeting high school seniors who are ready to graduate and jump into the workforce.”

Visit kitsapbuilds.com for application details.

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