School District 211’s Building Trades Program Receives Support From Chicagoland Industry Associations

School District 211’s Building Trades Program Receives Support From Chicagoland Industry Associations

For the second year in a row, High School District 211’s Building Trades Program received more than $10,000 in donations thanks to the generosity of the Residential Construction Employers Council (RCEC) and the Residential Home Builders Alliance (RHBA).

Monetary and material gifts were delivered to program representatives during the trade associations’ annual holiday gathering in November.

“We are really appreciative of the continued support of RCEC and RHBA,” said Chris Gunsteen, construction instructor at Palatine High School. “Students are very proud and have trouble coming forward sometimes to say ‘I need something.’ But as teachers, we can tell. These donations are a way we can help without singling any one student out.”

RCEC along with RB Construction and Monarch Construction donated 130 Carhartt jackets with a total value of approximately $8,500. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Procaccio Painting and Drywall made monetary donations of $2,500 and $1,000, respectively. Advantage Contractors Solutions, Northwest Builders Association and Mr. Terry Burke contributed $700 to be used towards the purchase of new construction boots. Other gifts included hard hats, winter hats, sweatshirts, and gift cards for food, groceries and necessities.

“District 211’s Building Trades Program offers an alternative career path for students who feel college may not be the right choice for them,” said Cathy Kirin, executive vice president for RCEC and RHBA. “There is a huge demand for skilled tradespeople and we are hoping to encourage the next generation to become carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and even architects and homebuilders.”

“I am so proud of the charitableness of our members, who give not only during the holiday season but also throughout the year,” she continued.

For example, RCEC and RHBA members participated in District 211’s career day, taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to students about job opportunities in the construction and real estate industries. They also have hosted blueprint reading classes, provided internships, and attended events such as the open house held for the home in Palatine built by the program’s students.

“The building trades program has been in place for 45 years and we have never received the level of financial support and commitment of time from a group of individuals as we have over the past two years from RCEC and RHBA,” said Gunsteen. “Our students are learning valuable lessons that go well beyond labor skills.”

The largest high school district in Illinois, District 211 includes five high schools—Conant, Fremd, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, and Schaumburg. Participation in the Building Trades Program has grown over the past several years and Gunsteen hopes that trend will continue, bolstered by the partnerships with RCEC and RHBA.

For more information on RCEC, visit and for RHBA log onto

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