Nailing Another Year – Checking in with HabiCorps!
HabiCorps Trainees, past and present, take on new skills in construction & the trades
Just off the heels of its sixth anniversary, the HabiCorps Workforce Development Program is stepping into 2023 with hammers swinging! HabiCorps, an AmeriCorps service program, offers 10.5 months of meaningful, hands-on training in construction trades to individuals experiencing employment barriers. Since its inception in 2017, HabiCorps hones in or preparing trainees for successful careers in carpentry, drywall, framing, construction, landscaping, and professional skills. With six years under its tool belt, there’s no signs of slowing down.
This year’s current cohort of trainees celebrated the kickoff of their 10.5 months of training back in September, when members of the community came out to meet the trainees as they worked onsite in Pigtown, Baltimore. HabiCorps trainees worked to finish the interiors of 3 newly-constructed rowhomes on Ward Street, which are now being matched to future Habitat partner families.
While there, trainees were joined by HabiCorps alum, Carlos, who now works as a project scheduler for Riggs Distler, a subcontractor for BGE.
“From start to finish, you get training along the way. It’s honestly a family,” says Carlos. “That’s why I’m personally here to come back to let people know, you can do it. It takes time, it’s a process, but you have to keep going. You can definitely succeed with HabiCorps.”
It’s honestly a family…You can definitely succeed with HabiCorps.
To date, HabiCorps graduates have finished the program and progressed into a variety of training programs, trade schools, careers, and industries. Terrance, a Baltimore native and Army veteran, works as a carpenter after graduating from HabiCorps in 2021. Shortly after finishing the program, he joined the Mid-Atlantic Carpenters Union, where he learned additional skills and contracted with a finishing company. Since then, he has completed a variety of contracts, including working on interiors at Top Golf in downtown Baltimore and cruise ships in Salisbury through Aerotek.
“You can come from any background and find your place in the program. We all come from different backgrounds. But at the end of the day when you come to the program, you’re going to be accepted for who you are,” says Terrance.
Thanks to partners like Aerotek, the HabiCorps Workforce Development program also helps graduates with job placement upon completion of the program, offering them opportunities to use or expand their new skills in the workplace.
“Since Habitat, I have taken up carpentry as my career path. It’s been great. I do work for myself and I’ve also had a variety of different jobs,” says Terrance. “There’s always opportunities out there, it’s just about what you want to do.”
Graduates from workforce development programs like HabiCorps also serve to fill a dire labor shortage. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry faced a workforce shortage of over 650,000 laborers in 2022 alone. As HabiCorps looks ahead to its sixth year, the program hopes to meet some of that demand while strengthening economic opportunities for job-seekers in Baltimore.
Above: Terrance, a 2021 HabiCorps graduate, holding a hammer shortly after beginning the program. Below: Carlos at his HabiCorps cohort kickoff.
About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 780 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.