IMG_0975By Louis Cotoia, National Director of the Rhode Island Builders Association The Rhode Island Builders Association (RIBA) recently held its 66th annual Home Show where the talents of local career and technical education (CTE) students were showcased for all to see. This year’s home show had over 250 exhibitors and five feature displays that were organized, constructed and set up by our state's students. In fact, we had over 300 students from 20 schools participate. The five feature displays included a 1,600-square-foot outdoor cooking area, a 1,600 square-foot solar energy educational showcase, a 600-square-foot home technology display, a seven-room, 1,536-square-foot designers showcase and two, 1,100-square-foot tree houses that were two stories tall and came decked out with solar panels, a working elevator and full landscaping from the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association. IMG_0108Feature display materials were delivered to the schools from RIBA’s lumberyard partners. We then assigned a lead student at each school to manage his or her part of the project for their school. The students did everything from ordering materials to building the structures based on their NCCER training. Our lumberyard partners then picked up the pre-constructed sections and delivered them to the convention center for installation. Over the course of four days, all of the students and over 75 RIBA members installed the feature displays. Electrical students were also trained in solar energy and worked at the event educating consumers during the show. In all, we ended up having student participation from various CTE programs within our state’s schools, including carpentry, electrical, general labor and horticulture. In addition, graphic arts students designed the volunteer T-shirts, culinary students prepared food for volunteers and media students put together the live radio station broadcasts from the convention center. After the event, more than 10 students received full-time job offers in construction as a direct result of their participation in the show. The event was a create way for us to generate awareness of our state’s CTE programs and potential career opportunities. We continue to see increased enthusiasm from students who want to get involved with CTE programs at their schools, which is a big step as our industry continues to need younger craft professionals.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.