Hands-On Academy in Colorado hopes to open doors for new careers – CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4) – With construction job opportunities increasing and some people rethinking their careers, Colorado Homebuilding Academy hopes to be a gateway to the industry. CHA offers hands-on training and placement for people who wish to pursue a career in construction.

The academy will also waive course fees for those seriously interested in construction and offer scholarships to cover other costs.

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(credit: CBS)

“There is definitely an opportunity for someone to get into an entry level, increase their level of education and move on to a career path,” said Damon DiFabio, director of Colorado Homebuilding Academy.

After two years selling tacos and agua fresca to the family food truck, Pancho’s Birria y Mas, Perla Nunez is ready for a change. While she enjoys working as a cashier with loved ones, she has bigger dreams.

“What I want to do is be a project manager,” said Nunez. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was in sixth grade. I liked construction, skyscrapers, and that’s something that interests me a lot.

Nunez is now on this path, thanks to the CHA. In the past few weeks, she has completed a training camp and a carpentry course.

“Typically, we see people who may be underemployed, unemployed and possibly changing careers,” DiFabio said.

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Interest in the academy has been high since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DiFabio says, but as the industry grows and jobs become more available, only a small percentage of young adults are pursuing a career in construction.

(credit: CBS)

“We have employers coming to the academy all the time to let us know they need help, and we try to give them good, qualified employees every day,” he said.

Nunez could soon be just that, with more training and a little personal growth.

“I don’t like heights, but I know I can overcome this fear,” Nunez said.

The dreams she concocted years ago may now be more attainable than ever.

“She’s energetic and ambitious, and they’re the kind of people the construction industry needs and wants,” said DiFabio.

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Nunez says she will take more classes before joining the industry. When she finally does, she plans to continue helping the family food truck on the weekends.

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