KPEP/Kalamazoo Land Bank partnership

The second vocational training track, Building Trades, kicked off on August 8, 2017 and is in the building trades field. This six week programming is targeted at those residents who desire work in the construction, building and maintenance fields.

A combination of classroom instruction and hands on experience will pave the way for residents to enhance their skills and gain necessary experience to be successful in the job market. Topics covered throughout the six weeks include: site inspection and set up, safety, basic construction math, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA10 Construction Certification.

A partnership with the Kalamazoo County Land Bank has provided us with homes and lawns to put the skills learned to use. This past summer, KPEP residents were responsible for maintaining the lawns and landscaping of empty homes and parcels owned by the Land Bank.

That partnership expanded in August to include the rehabilitation of two vacant homes. The homes are located on East Main Street in Kalamazoo. They have been the perfect location for Building Trades Program participants to gain hands on experience in the field. Participants have learned about site assessment, they have learned how to develop a list of projects to be completed, and they have gained skills in physically completing the projects. Projects at the home include repairing ceilings and drywall; installing new lights; replacing floor; demolition; installing toilets, cabinets, sinks, countertops and faucets; installing new switch plates and outlet covers; and where necessary even installing GFI outlets.

Once the houses are complete, the Land Bank plans to put them on the market. The program is a win for everyone. The Land Bank is able to get the houses back into use, a family can secure housing, the homes are no longer vacant and blighted, the county will receive income from property taxes and our residents are gaining experience to use in the work force.