GHBA to LAUNCH Students into Industry Careers

Jennifer Keller Featured, President's Message, Workforce Development, Young Professionals

New workforce fund supports next generation of builders, remodelers, trades

The Greater Houston Builders Association announces the creation of a new fund to support workforce development in our industry, thanks to a generous member of our association.

GHBA past president, Mike Manners, of Anglia Homes sees the challenge that students face in finding their way to career paths in our industry and is working to help them on their way. Manners is the first donor to a newly established “LAUNCH” fund. The fund, housed in the GHBA’s Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3), provides much needed support to students and alumni who have already taken steps to work with our workforce partners, including: Texas A&M University’s Master of Land and Property Development Program, the University of Houston’s Real Estate Center, Houston Community College, HomeAid WORKS, WorkTexas at Gallery Furniture, Habitat for Humanity, and even some of our high school and school district partners.

To start this program off, Manners has committed $12,000 from the Manners/Coole Foundation as matching funds for any donations to the LAUNCH fund. With these funds, our industry will help grow and sustain the next generation of home builders, remodelers, developers, and trade partners.


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How it works:

As students are identified by workforce partner programs as potential home building industry employees, GHBA volunteers and staff will find opportunities for those students to attend association events, meetings, and construction hiring events so that they can meet members of our industry and start building the necessary career connections to encourage their employment. This hands-on approach to relationship building will equip students with valuable connections, mentorship, and potential employment opportunities. Members will have early access to potential employees, interns, and mentees.

One of my goals for this year was to kick-start a program like this. So far this year, we have coordinated the attendance of a handful of students from collegiate programs at events such as the Annual Economic Forecast and Mid-Year Forecast. Our members generously gave up seats at their tables for students to join their invited colleagues and guests. Executive and Finance Committee Member Russ Bynum and GHBA staff communicated between students and members to coordinate table assignments. All parties involved have expressed appreciation for this opportunity to network. Some students have even been hired by member companies for internships, as a result.

Going forward, instead of asking members to give up their paid seats, we would like to make it easier for more members to say yes to hosting a student at an event and to make tax deductible donations to support students’ exposure to industry professionals. The LAUNCH fund will allow us to underwrite the cost of student attendance at and transportation to GHBA events. We anticipate expanding student engagement opportunities to include transporting our Career and Technical Education (CTE) students to events featuring more of our associate members and trade partners, including construction hiring events hosted by GHBA and industry partners, and our annual Product Expo.

As the Greater Houston Builders Association grows its relationships with institutions of higher learning and career and technical education programs, our members are seeking ways to pull students and alumni into home building and trade careers. The LAUNCH fund will provide an acceleration to those efforts and give students the boost that they need to start their career!

How you can help:

If you are ready to follow Mike Manners’ lead, please visit www.ghba.org/launchfund to donate online and become one of our first LAUNCH donors. The first $12,000 donated will go twice as far, thanks to the generous contribution by Manners/Coole Foundation! Donations are tax deductible.

If you are interested in getting more involved in workforce development efforts, please contact Aimee Bertrand or Workforce Development Committee Chair Ron Rohrbacher.

About the Author
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Jennifer Keller

Article by 2022 GHBA Board President Jennifer Keller, president and COO of Hamilton Thomas Homes. Keller has more than 25 years of experience in home building, land acquisition, land development, and land development / water resources engineering. Keller is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas who holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.