Thinking outside the box, and the schoolroom, to change the future.
Pilot programs require collaborative, innovative thinking. We’re all for that.
Aurora Early Beginnings at Jamaica Child Development Center
In 2013, BuildStrong Education partnered with the Piton Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation to fund the construction of a new 10,000 square foot facility for Aurora Early Beginnings.
Aurora Public Schools’ Early Beginnings, located next to the Jamaica Child Development Center in central Aurora, is an early childhood education program for children six weeks old to five years of age. The program serves families who reside within the Aurora Public Schools district boundaries, with a focus on children of teen parents who are attending Aurora Public Schools.
Early Beginnings opened in August 2014 and although it was nowhere near an Oakwood Homes community, Oakwood and BuildStrong Education felt passionate about playing a key role in its inception and success.
Some of the reasons we saw this as an important project include:
- We wanted to innovate, think outside the box, and help create something truly unique. By placing a new 10,000 square foot facility on an existing school site that already had infrastructure and available land, we wanted to see if this could be a way to expand early childhood learning to the levels communities so desperately need.
- We believed deeply in the idea of a two-generation approach that provided high quality education to the young children while also providing much needed support to teen moms.
Colorado Homebuilding Academy
BuildStrong Education Foundation has our roots in the developer and homebuilding industries and therefore we were very aware of a growing workforce issue. For the past several years there has been a significant shortage of skilled labor in the residential construction industry. There are not enough people well trained, motivated and ready to work in this field and that results in higher housing prices and a lower supply of housing, both of which are not good for families.
In addition, exceptional career opportunities are going unfilled at a time when many young people are looking for stable jobs and long-term paths to success. We knew that if we could make it easier for these people to learn more about homebuilding careers and get trained for key positions, it would be a win-win for everyone.
So, in the spirit of public-private partnerships and problem solving, Pat Hamill and the BuildStrong Education Board decided that this was a unique opportunity to address this industry problem while also significantly impacting high school student engagement and adult workforce development. Working together, we could help improve overall family self-sufficiency and economic development.
BuildStrong Education helped envision, fund and start the new Colorado Homebuilding Academy in 2017. It’s an industry-driven education model which is being piloted here in Denver. The academy is working to train the workforce we need for today and the workforce to be ready for tomorrow. As courses are added to the Academy and more students complete our program and head into new careers, we hope to share the model and replicate it across Colorado and the nation.
In 2017 the cost to build new schools in the Denver Metro area is $400/sq. ft.