Students Receive Warm Welcome to Industry at Product EXPO

Jennifer Keller Featured, President's Message, Workforce Development

Councilmember Sallie Alcorn (left) joins CBC President Allen Griffin, GHBA CEO Aimee Bertrand, and 50 students from the Jones Futures Academy to present a proclamation in honor of Careers in Construction Month.

On October 20, GHBA celebrated its 20th Annual Product EXPO with a few special guests, representing the future of our local homebuilding workforce.

Councilmember Sallie Alcorn of the City of Houston joined Custom Builders Council President Allen Griffin at the CBC Contracts Seminar’s 10:30 session, to present a proclamation in honor of October as Careers in Construction Month. On behalf of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Councilmember Alcorn declared October to be Careers in Construction Month in the City of Houston and lauded the work of GHBA to encourage homebuilding careers and support local workforce development programs.

The Product EXPO exhibitors and Contracts Seminar attendees also hosted students from Jones Futures Academy (JFA) in Houston Independent School District. Nearly 50 students as well as teachers and advisors from JFA were presented with hardhats emblazoned with the GHBA logo and treated to lunch, thanks to the new GHBA Launch Fund. The Launch Fund is housed in GHBA’s Charitable Foundation and allows students from workforce partner programs 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.


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Attending the Product EXPO gave students an unmatched opportunity to learn about career paths in the homebuilding industry. The students walked the trade show floor, saw cutting-edge products, tools and materials used in homebuilding, and were able to ask questions of our members about their experiences in the field. Members had the opportunity to see these quality students up close and engage them as future members of our workforce.

An administrator from JFA sent a kind thank you to the GHBA via Aimee Bertrand. Part of it that stuck out to me said, “On behalf of ALL of us here at Jones Futures Academy, we wanted to say, THANK YOU! What a SPECIAL EVENT! We all had such a wonderful time! As we were exiting the bus on our return trip, almost all the kids still wore their hard hats! It’s a day they will forever remember.”

I hope that as these students pursue their education and move into adulthood that many will say their start in homebuilding is thanks to the fine introduction our members have given them.

Our thanks go to Denny Patterson of Lone Star Air Systems. Denny is a longtime member and represents GHBA on JFA’s PTECH Advisory Committee for their new HVAC education program. He recently spoke to the students at JFA and is supporting their learning by supplying practice equipment for the students.

If you are interested in getting involved with GHBA’s workforce committee, please reach out to our committee chair Ron Rohrbacher or GHBA CEO Aimee Bertrand. You can also make a tax deductible gift to GHBA’s Launch Fund to help students continue to connect with our members at GHBA events, at www.ghba.org/launchfund.

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.