NCC Launches Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Skills Training Program

National Center for Craftsmanship (NCC), a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and sustainability of quality craftspeople, has launched a training program for Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

The program included classroom and site-based training that coincided with the construction of a Fort Collins Habitat-built home. Classes on basic construction skills were held over four Saturdays at Rigden Farm Senior Center.

Topics covered during the four sessions included:

  • Introduction to Architectural Plan Reading for Residential Construction
  • “Weathering In”; Structural Framing, Roofing, Windows & Exterior Doors, and Siding
  • “Roughing It”; HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, and Energy Use
  • “Inside Work”; Energy Efficiency, Thermal Protection, Finishes

Each class was followed by an on-site, hands-on opportunity to apply newly learned knowledge and construction skills at a Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity home build project.

Habitat for Humanity is the 15th largest builder in the U.S., but it has no structured training curriculum for its volunteers. “As many as 80 percent of well-intentioned Habitat volunteers don’t have any real construction skills or training,” notes Neil Kaufman, director of the National Center for Craftsmanship. “That puts a burden on the few who do have applicable skills to get much of the labor done. We created this program to help change that situation, teaching valuable skills that volunteers can apply that day, and beyond, and improving the safety and productivity of volunteer teams.”

The program, the first of its kind in the country, is aimed at increasing the level of skill and participation of Habitat volunteers of all ages. The program also offers an opportunity for young people to explore the construction trades as a career choice, as part of the Center’s overall mission.

A 2005 study by The Construction Labor Research Council reported that over the next decade the building trades alone will conservatively require 185,000 new craft workers each year. Furthermore, no reliable figures exist for the number of skilled craftspeople being trained each year.

In a partnership between NCC, Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, Front Range Community College, Poudre and Thompson School Districts, and local construction contractors and business sponsors, the program will provide construction skills training to Habitat crew leaders and volunteers.

The Habitat home being constructed in conjunction with this training program is to be featured in the Northern Colorado Home Builders Association 2007 Parade of Homes in September.

To offer to teach or sponsor a volunteer training day, contact National Center for Craftsmanship Director, Neil Kaufman at 970-215-4587 or .

About Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity

Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that builds affordable homes for eligible homeowners, who contribute up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the building of their new home. Habitat provides a zero-percent-interest loan to the homeowners, who pay a monthly mortgage payment that does not exceed 30 percent of their annual income. The Fort Collins chapter is an affiliate of Habitat International and has built 33 homes since its inception in 1993. The effort is made possible through the donations of materials, money and labor from the Fort Collins community. For more information, visit .

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