Rebuilding a community by changing lives

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s Construction Training program teaches life-changing skills while turning empty lots into new homes in Frogtown.

One of our recently completed homes in Frogtown

Not only is our Construction Training program changing lives by teaching the job skills our participants need to start great careers, it’s also helping to transform St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood by converting empty lots into beautiful new homes!

Our Construction training participants have recently completed homes two and three of our four-home project in the area. The work is part of the “Inspiring Communities” program started in 2013 to help redevelop St. Paul neighborhoods that were impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

“It’s been a great opportunity for our students to put their knowledge to use,” says Tom Kennedy, Construction Instructor.

Construction Training participants working on site

Our 12-week program includes six weeks of classroom learning and six weeks for students to put their new skills to use on a home site. Tom estimated that about 150 of our participants had a part in building the homes during the fourteen-month project, which was done using sustainable design and construction practices.

In 2014 St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman described the project as a “remarkable partnership.” Included among those partners are Urban Homeworks, who managed the work, the City of St. Paul, the Twin Cities Community Land Bank and the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

participants during classroom training

Our students played a role in building almost every part of the homes. “We built the foundation, framed the entire house, put in windows, siding and interior walls, installed appliances and did the finish work,” Tom explained.

Work on building another new home in the Frogtown area will start in June.

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