Few better examples exist of the true American spirit in all its glory than in this Avon Park project in which returning military veterans are learning new skills and trades by restoring homes for low income families.
In a project coordinated through the Highlands County Home Builders Institute and the Housing Authority of Avon Park (HAAP), close to 30 veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are re-integrating successfully with society by plying new and relearned skills and trades to restore some of the oldest homes in the vast and successful APHA inventory of residences.
The Avon Park project is part of the national Home Builders Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training program, or HBI PACT, to help returning veterans find training and jobs and readjustment for a peaceful life after sometimes years spent in the war theaters. Veterans students are applying their newly-learned carpentry, plumbing, electrical and painting skills as they restore homes for future use.
“Civic engagement is an important part of all HBI programs and it provides our students with a valuable opportunity to apply the techniques they learn in the classroom to real-life settings,” said Rosa Cannaverde, program manager, HBI PACT for Veterans. “Volunteer opportunities like this one help make a difference in the local community, and we are thrilled to put our skills to the test and lend a helping hand.”
In partnership with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, HBI PACT for Veterans provides Florida veterans with training and placement in the home building trades. Utilizing HBI PACT’s curriculum, the program integrates work-based learning with vocational and academic skills training to prepare students for careers in residential construction.