NIBCA Parade of Homes shines spotlight on KTEC

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  • KTEC instructor Casey Syth teaches students in his residential construction class how to identify tools using their proper names. (Photos by ANDREAS BRAUNLICH)

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  • KTEC instructor Casey Syth teaches students in his residential construction class how to identify tools using their proper names. (Photos by ANDREAS BRAUNLICH)

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Parade of Homes is more than a collection of stunning new houses created by the region’s top building teams.

This celebration of North Idaho’s home construction market — presented annually by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA) — showcases the latest home designs and trends while celebrating the culture and lifestyle that make North Idaho a great place to live, work and play.

The event takes place this month, over the next two weekends: Sept. 15 and 16 and Sept. 21, 22 and 23.

Through Parade of Homes, NIBCA members, who are builders, designers, craftsmen, suppliers, financers and more, share their artistry and expertise with the public, but they also support the community they believe in.

“Parade of Homes is for the benefit of the builders, suppliers, subcontractors and the citizens of the North Idaho,” said NIBCA board president Shawn Anderson, who, with husband Joel, owns Monarch Custom Homes.

This year, NIBCA Parade of Homes is putting the spotlight on the Kootenai Technical Education Campus (KTEC), a public technical training high school in Rathdrum available to 11th- and 12th-grade students in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland school districts.

“We are working together to bridge the gap between the skilled labor market and education,” said this year’s Parade of Homes Committee Chair, Therese Goodwin Gurgel, who is a business relationship officer with Idaho Central Credit Union in North Idaho and NIBCA member.

KTEC students can earn construction industry-accepted certifications while in high school, and that’s good news for a building market that’s struggling to find skilled workers.

North Idaho’s booming economy, with sizzling job growth and low unemployment, has increased the demand for construction tradespeople.

“The deficit of skilled construction workers makes the problem of housing shortages even trickier to solve. It’s pushed home completion back at least six months. We aren’t able to build fast enough to keep up with the growing demand in our area because we do not have enough skilled labor,” said Goodwin Gurgel. “That is a huge impact on an area that’s growing so quickly.”

The labor shortage is a national problem, she said, and workers are going where the money is.

“We want these young people in the trades industry to know there is a great way for them to make good money here and stay in our community,” Goodwin Gurgel said.

NIBCA, which has an education committee, is partnering with KTEC, North Idaho College and the Idaho Department of Labor and Home Depot to bring the Construction Combine, an innovative effort to counter the construction labor shortage, to North Idaho, said Anderson. The two-day program exposes students and community members to the possibilities of working in the industry and provides potential job opportunities.

“Our focus in the coming year is to increase our workforce, not just so that it benefits us, but for the benefit of the young adults coming up, giving them hope for the future by providing a career opportunity they might not have considered,” Anderson said, noting that construction trade jobs pay well and don’t require a college degree.

Colby Mattila, KTEC’s director, said industry partners like NIBCA members are an important part of student success at KTEC, where last year, by the end of the year, every graduating student studying the construction trades was placed in a job or on track to continue their education after graduation.

By working closely with industry leaders, experts and prospective employers, KTEC develops programs that meet the needs of the industries in the area, a move that also ensures greater job opportunities for students.

During NIBCA Parade of Homes, Idaho Central Credit Union, through its community outreach, is working to help a KTEC student to advance his or her career in the trades industry after high school.

For every $5 ticket purchased to take this year’s Parade of Homes tour, Idaho Central Credit Union will donate $1 (up to $3,000) to provide a scholarship to a KTEC student in carpentry, CAD, landscaping, HVAC and the electrical and plumbing apprenticeship programs at North Idaho College.

“We’d like for them to further their education and continue on with NIC, to achieve the next level in construction management,” said Goodwin Gurgel.

To highlight the skills learned at KTEC, NIBCA members have also created a more immediate learning opportunity for KTEC students.

Earlier this month, KTEC students built a children’s outdoor playhouse constructed with materials donated by NIBCA members.

“We have a whole community that’s coming together for this event,” Goodwin Gurgel said.

NIBCA Parade of Homes ticket purchasers can win this special playhouse by voting for their favorite Parade Home. The drawing for the winner will be held Monday, Sept. 24 at the NIBCA office.

KTEC’s Mattila said building the playhouse got students off to a good start for the new school year by getting them back in the building mindset.

It’s also a way for the students and the school to show their appreciation for their building industry partners.

“Our industry partners give a lot to KTEC,” Mattila said. “It’s another way for us to say thank you and give back to them.”

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