INDIANAPOLIS — The first students taking advantage of a new program connecting low-income homeowners with construction students working to hone their craft gathered at a home off Keystone Avenue to complete a variety of household updates on Friday.
This group is the first batch of students to graduate from BY Construction Training, a new training program in Marion County focused on pairing construction students with low-income seniors and homeowners with disabilities.
"We're able to beautify neighborhoods in that give back way, and also training and preparing the students," Executive Director Nate Kleick said.
Student Deon Maxwell grew up with a love of carpentry, and also knows firsthand the impact the projects the BY Construction Training Group takes on. As a kid, he saw several elderly folks in his community sometimes struggled to keep up their homes.
"It's sad you know, sometimes they don't even have family to call on," he said.
Now, through this program, he's the one making a change.
"This is something I wanted to do, just so I won't see that ever again," he said.
It's not just homeowners benefiting from the program. Upon graduation, the students will have all the valuable construction skillsets they need to be highly employable in the workforce.
After an eight-week course, they will have two certifications in an industry that is forecast to grow over the next 10 years.
Indiana is projected to have more than 140,000 construction job openings by the year 2026
"Our goal is to not only help them get a job, but also have them keep that job," Meghan Owens, program navigator, said.
With training almost over, the group now has a solid foundation it takes to succeed in a growing industry. But they've built something sturdier than fences in the process: great friendships, which won't end when the program does.
"I don't look at them as classmates. I look at them as family, cause that's how we bonded, is as family, from day one," Maxwell said.
If you're interested in the program, or want to check out ways to have BY Construction Group work on a project at your home, head to their website here.