August 13, 2020
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Inaugural construction trades training class prepares to graduate

May 31, 2019

After months of specialized training, the first cohort of the BUILD IT SMART construction trades training program, a collaboration between Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) and The LIME Foundation’s NextGen Trades Academy, is graduating.

The class of 12 young people participated in a four-month curriculum that included classroom instruction; job shadowing; skilled certification training including OSHA 10; Blueprint Reading; Construction Math; and, hands-on project-based learning to apply their skills in building a tiny home at CCNB’s Cotati location.

The collaboration – with NextGen providing the industry expert instructors and CCNB’s corps members in the role of students – is designed to meet a variety of needs from providing specialized training so young people can earn a living wage, to growing a skilled workforce that will continue to be in great demand. Corps members participating in the program are interviewing for jobs, and three have secured full time employment in the construction field in advance of graduation. It is expected two-thirds of all work-ready graduates will obtain fulltime work in the months following graduation.

The County of Sonoma, through the Workforce Investment Board, provided The LIME Foundation a $49,000 grant to assist in programmatic funding and the purchase of building materials; the Tipping Point Community Emergency Relief Fund is supporting costs related to CCNB’s expansion into construction trades job training.

Letitia Hanke, the founder and executive director of The LIME Foundation is excited to see the program grow. “My hope when starting the Academy was to get young people interested in a career in the trades and connect them with local contractors for jobs,” she said. “Now, it has grown to be so much more. Not only are they getting high paid construction jobs, but they are learning life skills through our program that they will be able to use in their everyday lives. The one thing I did not anticipate was how much our local contractors would appreciate having this workforce available to them to teach new skills and grow with their companies,” according to Hanke.

“It is inspiring to see our members build skills, build their confidence, and build their career options for a financially independent future,” said CCNB Career Pathways Program Manager Monique Brown.

CCNB corps members will graduate alongside other NextGen participants at a ceremony scheduled on June 13th at the Friedman Center.

Founded in 1982 as the nation’s first local nonprofit conservation corps, CCNB is a paid job training program whose mission is to develop youth and conserve natural resources for a strong, sustainable community.

The LIME Foundation was founded in 2015 by Letitia Hanke to help advocate for the needs of the disadvantaged community through music, the trades, and senior health. LIME has served over 200 individuals with life-changing knowledge and skills since its inception.

For more information, about The LIME Foundation or NextGen Trades Academy, contact Andrew Leonard at or (707) 532-LIME (5463). For more information about Conservation Corps North Bay, contact Anastasia Pryor at or (415) 763-3105.