Local Homebuilding Associations Raise More Than $10,000 For District 211’s Building Trades Program

Local Homebuilding Associations Raise More Than $10,000 For District 211’s Building Trades Program

At its annual holiday party in November, the Residential Construction Employers Council (RCEC) along with the Residential Home Builders Alliance (RHBA) raised more than $10,000 in donations for High School District 211’s Building Trades Program.

“As members of the building community, we are pleased to be in a position to support the next generation of tradespeople,” said Cathy Kirin, executive vice president for RCEC and RHBA. “These students may be Chicagoland’s next architects, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, or homebuilders.”

“We were astounded by the outpouring of support for the Building Construction Program,” Chris Gunsteen, construction instructor at Palatine High School. “One of our main objectives is to get young adults interested and excited about entering the building industry. District 211 offers students an authentic hands-on experience that exposes them to all aspects of home building, including working outside year around. These donations will go a long way in providing our students with the basic necessities that more often than not students are showing up to class without.”

RCEC along with RB Construction, GW Thiel, Monarch Construction, and Advantage Contractor Solutions donated 100 Carhartt jackets with a total value of approximately $6,500. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters made a monetary donation of $2,500 and RHBA provided 100 pairs of safety gloves. In addition, Procaccio Painting and Drywall, Parksite and Mr. and Mrs. Len Strahanoski made monetary donations. Other gifts included safety shirts, sweatshirts, tape measures, safety gloves, and gift cards for food and groceries.

“Our goal as a program is to offer quality service and quality product—but our main goal is to change lives,” said Mark Hibner, applied technology department chair at Palatine High School.

“As the level of poverty rises in the suburbs, Palatine ranks near the top of the list of communities with residents living in poverty,” he continued. “These donations are going to help change people’s lives.”

He added that RCEC and RHBA have partnered with the Building Trades Program in other ways, as well. Both Hibner and Gunsteen have attended association meetings to find internship opportunities for students while association members have served as judges for the district’s annual building instruction house designing competition.

Each year, students enrolled in the Building Trades Program design and construct a home in the northwest suburbs. From blueprints to completion, the process usually takes two years. Homes are sold at market value. Five high schools participate—Conant, Fremd, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, and Schaumburg.

This year’s competition included 350 entries that were narrowed down to the top 10. And for the first time ever, two designs were chosen. One home will be built in Elgin and the other in Palatine.

“Through our partnership with RCEC and RHBA, we are fostering incredible relationships with respected members of the building industry,” said Hibner. “It’s already helping us create a pathway for our students.”

For more information on RCEC, visit rcecusa.org and for RHBA log onto ResidentialHomeBuildersAlliance.com.

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