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$5k grant boosts construction education at Paso Robles High School 

$5k grant boosts construction education at Paso Robles High SchoolSkillsUSA Chapter 211 at Paso Robles High School recently received a $5,000 grant to support construction trades education. The Building Industry Technology Academy (BITA) grant was presented by the Homebuilders Association of the Central Coast (HBACC) on behalf of grant underwriter California Building Industry Association (CBIA). The CBIA made the grant through its California Homebuilding Foundation.

The Building Industry Technology Academy is a four-year construction trades program offered to California public high schools at no cost by the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF). With the help of CHF and local building industry associations, BITA curriculum focuses on producing job-ready skilled professionals. BITA is also a University of California recognized elective program, offering students the opportunity to choose direct-to-work or college options.

Wes and Dick Willhoit of Paso Robles-based Estrella Associates spearheaded the BITA grant application to support the SkillsUSA local Chapter 211 in Paso Robles. SkillsUSA, a partnership of local high schools, teachers, and industry trade professionals, offers students alternatives to the traditional high school learning experience and college that prepare them to enter the workforce immediately post-high school.

The local grant is earmarked for use in purchasing materials and tools needed for an innovative fundraiser in which Paso High student-constructed sheds are actioned off each year. The annual auction gives students hands-on building experience while generating recurring income for the SkillsUSA program.

According to Wes Willhoit, who with his father Dick, is a past president of the Homebuilders Association of the Central Coast, the BITA grant and SkillsUSA program at Paso Robles High School made for a perfect match. “We are so pleased to support a cause that directly connects students with the building trades,” said Willhoit. “The demand for skilled building tradespeople has intensified due to the rebuilding needed in the aftermath of California’s wildfire and flood disasters. Trade education can’t come fast enough.”

The HBACC lauded the Willhoits’ dedication to the effort. “We know any time the Willhoit name is connected to a project, the results are going to be positive – and beneficial to our industry,” said Lindy Hatcher, HBACC executive director. Hatcher added that the HBACC appreciated the support of the CBIA and CHF in funding the grant.

The Home Builders Association of the Central Coast is a non-profit California corporation – a 501(c)6 trade association representing Home Builders and related industry professionals in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. HBACC serves the building industry community by working closely with the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to provide comprehensive programs, including powerful legislative advocacy, effective business networking, money-saving benefits, proven educational programs, up-to-date industry awareness, and publications and resources.

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