Columbus REALTORS® Revive Home-Building Training Program

By HOM Editor

Nearly 40 years ago, Columbus REALTORS® invested in Columbus, Ohio, neighborhoods by providing seed money for a home-building program in Columbus schools. That program lasted 20 years. Now, Columbus REALTORS® have helped to revive the program, which provides scholarships to students.

In 1976, thanks to the vision of Dr. Bob Weiler and an initial investment from the Columbus Association of REALTORS®, a successful home-building program began. Over the next 20 years, students built and sold 27 single-family homes in the Columbus area. Now, that program is being redeveloped to not only give students the valuable experience they need to enter the building trades, but also to improve distressed neighborhoods.

Through the new program, called Project FORTify, students in the construction trades program at the Ft. Hayes Career Center will focus their efforts on properties in the distressed neighborhoods surrounding the Ft. Hayes campus. This new effort includes a number of partners working with REALTORS® to improve Columbus neighborhoods: Columbus City Schools, the Columbus and Franklin County land banks, the Building Industry Association, the city’s Department of Development, the city’s Department of Building and Zoning Services, Habitat for Humanity, and Columbus City Council members.

“Scarcity in the skilled trades workforce in the Columbus region continues to be a challenge for area home builders, and threatens to slow business growth in the community,” said Columbus REALTORS® Treasurer Mic Gordon. “We want to help fix the problem, and this program is a perfect fit. It’s a win for the community, a win for the schools, and most importantly, it’s a win for these students as they gain the needed experience to become ready for the workforce following high school.”

Project FORTify is finalizing program details and preparing to purchase its first parcels of land, with a full launch planned for the fall of 2015.


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