A Lasting Legacy: Construction Training at Hope Builders

A Lasting Legacy

March marks the 19th anniversary of the launch of Hope Builders’ construction training program in a 10,000 square foot warehouse in Santa Ana.

Hope Builders was first introduced to the construction industry through its original social enterprise, The Benchmakers, which hired young adults to build mission-style garden benches. The Benchmakers’ early designs incorporated old pine doors reclaimed from the Motherhouse convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. At the encouragement of the building community and with the vision to link more young adults to employment that offers career advancement and a living wage, Hope Builders opened its construction facility with the generous support of numerous private donors.

In 2007, Hope Builders Construction Company (HBCC) was established to employ Hope Builders’ graduates to build affordable housing through a unique partnership with the City of Santa Ana and Orange County Community Housing Corporation. The first project involved the construction of three single-family homes in the historic Logan barrio of Santa Ana. For the next eleven years, HBCC operated general contracting services throughout Orange County, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. Operations ceased in 2018 when HBCC became the employment vehicle to Hope Builders’ newest social enterprise—Jobs Work.

Jobs Work fast-tracks young adults into quality jobs—ultimately moving them from poverty to prosperity—and help employers vet and train reliable, skilled employees. This innovative program leverages Hope Builders’ current curriculum of core construction competencies, basic math remediation, life skills development, employment readiness training and OSHA-10 Certification with existing training programs in the trades. After 12 weeks of training, Hope Builders transitions trainees to 12 weeks of paid field training with partnering employers. HBCC serves as the employer of record and bills each employer partner an average hourly rate of $22; to date the program has generated more than $400,000 in revenue for the agency’s programming.

Currently, Hope Builders partners with more than 20 employers, including Sunwest Electric, Mammoth Electric, Lyon Living, AireRite, Hale Glass, Woodbridge Glass/Werner Systems, 24HRC, Taber Co and more. Hope Builders’ construction program enrolls over 100 young adults annually and employed graduates are earning an average of $15.33 an hour.

Click below to hear Ben, a construction program graduate, reflect on the life transformation Hope Builders helped him achieve.

Through the last 19 years, Hope Builders has been proud to prepare young adults for an industry with a high demand for workers and career opportunities that change lives.