High School is not often viewed as a launchpad for lifelong career opportunities, but with the collaboration of local businesses and innovative high school counselors, Naples area teens are working to create their own future.
During scheduled career fairs, students in the construction academies at Palmetto Ridge High School and Lely High School are able to learn more about the opportunities available directly from business owners.
BCB Homes has been a leader in this community outreach that, in turn, benefits the company by ushering in a new generation of skilled labor in an aging workforce. In fact, the company’s internship program was designed to do just that.
“We’re looking for interns that are hardworking, energetic students with the desire to learn about the construction industry,” said Eric Morris, vice president of BCB Homes. “We want to be able to show them two to three different aspects of the custom home building business, in an effort to discover where their passion lies. Hopefully, they’ll like it and want to come back to work for us once they graduate.”
Since their first hire in 2008, BCB Homes has started four young men on a career path in their home community that provides ample opportunity for advancement.
One such example is Edgar Garcia, who was hired upon graduating from Immokalee High School.
“The summer before my senior year, I received an internship at BCB Homes and was given the option of starting in a number of departments,” said Garcia. “So I worked in framing, then waterproofing, and by the end of summer I was offered a full-time job at BCB Homes once I graduated. It was an offer I quickly accepted.”
Today Garcia has advanced to be a leader in the company’s Building Science Division.
Carlos Moreno and Alex Gomez were also hired directly out of high school and are advancing in the ranks of the vital task in Southwest Florida of waterproofing.
Luis Hernandez-Garcia was hired in 2015 and works on the drywall crew.
BCB Homes is helping students find the lens to view construction work as a lifelong career rather than a fall back job. This summer the company will have four new interns, interested in the construction industry, for a period of six weeks.
“We use the program because it helps us to get students to learn our culture at a young age, and we can train them in the skills and practices that we set forth,” stated Morris. “These students are a fresh set of eyes and are excited to learn.”
Morris recognizes the difficulty in finding skilled workers in the booming Naples market, and sees the internship program the company introduced as a way to create well-trained, capable and knowledgeable crews.
“I plan on staying with BCB Homes and will continue learning from the experts in the field,” said Garcia. “If I work hard, perhaps 10 years down the road I’ll be the head of the Building Science Division. That’s something I could have never dreamed about if I didn’t accept the internship several years back.”
When asked if he would recommend others be part of the program, Garcia responded, definitely.
“I would love to recruit others to join BCB Homes and help them learn all about the great opportunities there are in the construction industry,” said Garcia.
Naples Daily News story 6.19.16