When there’s an affordable housing shortage, a worker shortage, and a need to engage young people in meaningful projects, what can you do? You can launch a program that addresses all 3 issues at the same time. That’s what one New Orleans non-profit did. Uncommon Construction is an example of current construction trends providing opportunities to not only build houses but also frame character.
“When we think about New Orleans, and the need that exists…it just makes sense to be here,” said Aaron Frumin, founder and executive director of Uncommon Construction. Frumin came to New Orleans in 2005 to join rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He worked with several local non-profits, and in 2015 he decided to create his own.
Frumin felt the need for youth character development was equally important as affordable housing. And introducing more young people to construction industry trades is another way to rebuild our workforce. Bringing imaginative, excited youth into the construction industry can only prove value-added.
He introduces local young people to the construction industry. Once they have been accepted to his program, students can get:
- Hourly pay
- School credits
High school senior Joshua Bolds was part of that program. He said he appreciated working with people his age while receiving guidance and mentorship from older, experienced construction professionals. He went on to pursue construction education and even started his own carpentry, landscaping, and lawn care company in New Orleans. He says his current learning challenge is understanding the insurance side of the construction business.
Uncommon Construction recently received a grant that will allow Frumin to “nearly double the number of young people who work and gain the same and similar experience that Josh has had… I feel like New Orleans has made a mark on me and I’m fortunate to, in some small corner of it, feel like I’m able to pay that back.”
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