Farmington, Conn. (June 27, 2023) – Hoping to make a small dent in the ongoing shortage of construction workers facing Connecticut and the nation at large, the KBE Foundation has awarded $18,000 in scholarships to students pursuing post-high school careers in the commercial construction industry.
According to the national Associated Builders and Contractors, the national construction workforce shortage has topped half a million in 2023. (https://www.abc.org/News-Media/News-Releases/entryid/19777/construction-workforce-shortage-tops-half-a-million-in-2023-says-abc) – a trend that has continued to worsen over the last decade.
For the eighth year, the KBE Foundation has awarded its Construction Career Scholarships to 18 graduating students from the Connecticut Technical High School system and other programs, with the hopes of encouraging the State’s youth to pursue careers in the construction industry. The scholarships were presented to students at a special awards event on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at Farmington Gardens, Farmington, CT.
Guest speakers at the event included Robert G. Dunn, Esq., vice president of KBE Building Corporation and chair of the KBE Foundation; Chris Fryxell, president of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Connecticut; and Connecticut State Representative Francis Cooley (22nd Assembly District).
The KBE Foundation (www.kbefoundation.org), a non-profit public charity under IRC sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) ,is an outgrowth of a long-standing philanthropic program launched by KBE Building Corporation in 2009. In early 2022, this philanthropic initiative took a giant leap forward with the creation of The KBE Foundation, which now oversees all charitable giving for KBE Building Corporation and its affiliates. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $4 million in charitable donations to not-for-profits agencies supporting children, families, seniors, and military personnel throughout Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Arizona.
While most scholarships are typically earmarked for college tuition, the KBE Foundation’s Construction Career Scholarships can be used to pay for the costs of post-high school education programs, certifications, and tools needed in the pursuit of a construction career. These programs include training programs in carpentry, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing trades, certification classes for state licensure, as well as 2- and 4-year degree programs in construction management.
In all, the KBE Foundation has awarded $132,000 to 119 to graduating Technical High School seniors and other Connecticut students pursuing construction careers since launching the scholarship program in 2015.
“The construction industry in Connecticut and across the nation is facing a dire shortage of qualified workers, from trade craftworkers to construction project managers and superintendents,” explains Robert Dunn, Esq., senior vice president of KBE Building Corporation. “At KBE, we believe we have a responsibility to encourage young women and men to pursue construction careers and help ensure a solid workforce for the future. One challenge is convincing students and their families that a construction career can be highly rewarding, both financially and personally.”
This year’s recipients include:
Joseph Bernardo, Brookfield, CT: Abbott Technical High School (Electrical trade)
Madilynn Boark, Ansonia, CT: Wilcox Technical High School (Electrical/Low-Voltage trade)
Brady Doherty, Torrington, CT: Wolcott Technical High School (Plumbing trade)
Brian Gregory, Woodbridge, CT: O’Brien Technical High School (Electrical trade)
Kyle Hood, Wallingford, CT : Wilcox Technical High School (Carpentry trade)
Jazmin Morales, Waterbury, CT: Kaynor Technical High School (Electrical trade)
Thiago Nascimento, Danbury, CT: Abbott Technical High School (HVAC trade)
Gael Negreros, Hartford, CT: AI Prince Technical High School (Plumbing trade)
Luke Newton, Madison, CT: Central Connecticut State University (Construction Management)
Brandon Nemcik, Torrington, CT: Wolcott Technical High School (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing trades)
Christopher Nunez, Danbury, CT: Abbott Technical High School (HVAC trades)
Hunter Perkins, Windham, CT: Windham Technical High School (HVAC trades)
Ryan Prendergast, Southbury, CT: Bristol Technical High School (Welding/Plumbing trades)
Steve Seara, Bridgeport, CT: Bullard Technical High School (Electrical trade)
Drew Vanner, Torrington, CT: Ellis Technical High School (Carpentry trade)
Jillien Yezierski, Berlin, CT: Goodwin Technical High School (Electrical trade)
Janae Yumiceba, Ansonia, CT: O’Brien Technical High School (HVAC trades)
Fanny Zhinnin, Danbury, CT: Abbott Technical High School (HVAC trade/Electrical Engineering)
In previous years, the scholarship program was sponsored by KBE Building Corporation, a national construction services firm headquartered in Farmington, CT. In early 2022, KBE created the KBE Foundation, a non-profit public charity under IRC sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1). The firm’s extensive philanthropic outreach program, which has donated more than $4 million since 2009, is now under the auspices of the KBE Foundation.