Career Technical Education Foundation has received a $1 million grant from San Francisco Bay area anti-poverty organization Tipping Point Community to expand a five-month construction trades training program for high school seniors.

The funding is coming from Tipping Point’s emergency relief fund, which was started to support the four-county north Bay area’s recovery and rebuilding efforts after the fires that damaged thousands of homes and businesses last year.

According to foundation officials, the CTE Foundation will work with North Coast Builders Exchange to develop and execute programs in Napa, Marin and Lake counties, as well as coordinate expansion of an existing Mendocino County Construction Corps program that began earlier this year.

“Construction Corps encourages high school students to explore in a hands-on environment how their interests can be leveraged to create a successful career in this industry,” said Barbie Richardson, owner of Simpson Sheet Metal and CTE Foundation board member.

The North Bay Construction Corps meet one night a week and one Saturday a month and are taught by people in construction. They explain their trades, expose them to multiple construction-related basics including tool handling, safety, electrical, plumbing, carpentry and solar energy. 

The students can earn on-the-job experience while receiving a stipend  for their work.

“For those not directly impacted by the fires, it might be easy to think of the tragedy that we faced last October as long past,” said Karen Fies, director of Sonoma County Human Services and CTE Foundation board chairwoman. “Yet there are thousands of displaced residents that want to go back to their homes, and the only way they can do that is if we have a strong workforce of construction and trades professionals to put the pieces back together.”