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Empowering Trades & Building Futures: Habitat for Humanity & Trade Schools

OffSite Dirt hosts Audree Grubesic and Mark Wille meet, Gregg Helmich from North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), and Jennifer Breister from Crown Point Builders and Habitat for Humanity. They discuss the importance of trade schools in the industry, making them relevant to students, incorporating building science into diploma programs, and their involvement with Habitat for Humanity projects.

"And above that, rather than seeing the construction industry from a viewpoint of a textbook and a shop, they're getting to see things in real life and being able to learn how to rework things, learn how to overcome weather challenges or materials challenges."- Jennifer Breister

Jennifer emphasizes how important it is for students to learn hands-on skills that they can use throughout their lives while also giving back to the community. Gregg talks about his experience teaching construction and partnering on summer camps for young women interested in trades. The group highlights the satisfaction of seeing a project come together and helping make affordable housing possible through partnerships like theirs with Habitat for Humanity.

In this interview, Jennifer and Gregg discuss their work with Habitat for Humanity in incorporating building science principles into their projects. They emphasize the importance of teaching these skills to the next generation of builders and encouraging more women to enter the industry. The conversation also touches on offsite solutions and high performance building techniques. Both Jennifer and Gregg express gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact in their community through their work with Habitat for Humanity.

Gregg Helmich, From the time I helped my dad build an A frame cabin on the side of a hill with no power tools in rural southern Illinois, to the present, I have had a real passion for taking raw materials and creating things of form, function, and beauty. That passion led me to my calling of being a trades instructor, starting with high school for 15 years and now at the college level for 16 years. I also train local commercial and residential trades workers in targeted areas that their companies need. I want to bring real-life and relevant experiential learning to the classroom and job site and staying connected to industry leaders helps in that process. I am grateful to have connected with Building Science professionals through social media that help to bring that realm to my students.

Jennifer Breister

Gregg Helmich


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