Building Future Builders

The Habitat model is about teaching. There are hammers and nails, affordable homes and ReStores, but what Habitat does every day is really about sharing knowledge: how to build, how to save money, how to make a difference. When volunteers and partner families come to NOAHH’s build sites, many of them have never even swung a hammer before. The construction team members are not just carpenters. They’re also teachers, so it’s a natural fit to pair them up with local students.

In 2020, Habitat began a partnership with the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (known as “Sci High”), recruiting several local students as construction interns. The program is a partnership with Harbor Freight Tools, who sponsor the students and young adults for summer internships.

“We need to connect the kids with hands-on experience,” said Rachel Little, the Career and Technical Education Coordinator at Sci High. “They get to see other people in regular jobs and get more experience with others. And it gets other kids interested in the field. It helps them know what it’s really like.”

They learned everything from framing skills to reading blueprints, working through some of the hottest days of the year alongside the repair team, site supervisors, and the training coordinator for a six-week period. All four interns completed the program, gaining valuable experience and new skills to take with them. This successful trial is the auspicious beginning of what will be a long and meaningful partnership with Harbor Freight and Sci High. NOAHH looks forward to welcoming the class of 2021 Harbor Freight interns.