There are some organizations that are particularly close to my heart because they creatively tackle issues of Sustainable Wellbeing on multiple fronts. BUILD Inc. is one of these examples. They work towards long-term poverty reduction through skill development and employment while also working on green housing initiatives. It is beautiful and brilliant!
BUILD Inc. is a social enterprise non-profit contractor and training program that is based in Manitoba. BUILD, which is an acronym for Building Urban Industries for Local Development, aims to improve the sustainability of Manitoba public housing units through water and insulation retrofits.
Some of the services provided by BUILD include:
These services have the ability to make a significant environmental and financial impact. As of 2011, BUILD helped the government and low-income families save over $900,000 on utility bills. Along with the monetary savings, these retrofits are able to reduce the amount of heating, cooling, and water required in order to live comfortably.
In addition to all the energy and water saving retrofits BUILD also offers a training program for people who face barriers to employment. In fact, the main objective of BUILD is to break down barriers to employment and provide individuals with meaningful work and training that will put them on the path to success.
In many cases, BUILD trainees don’t have a high school diploma, have a criminal record, have little work experience, live with inter-generational poverty, or are dealing with other difficult life circumstances. It can be incredibly difficult to find employment when coming from any one of these situations. As a solution, BUILD helps people gain employable skills, training, and work experience that will help them overcome barriers to employment.
BUILD was founded in 2006 during a time when the price for natural gas was increasing, making it even more difficult for those who were already struggling to be able to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families.
As a result, BUILD was founded by members of the Indigenous community living in the North End of Winnipeg, where houses can consume large amounts of energy due to inadequate insulation and maintenance. Not only does BUILD help improve the energy efficiency of these homes, but it also provides jobs for the people who live in the area.
Training program and benefits
BUILD employs over 100 staff members, and around 80-85 of these are pre-employee trainees that receive six months of training. Unlike many employee training programs, BUILD ensures that their trainees are paid for their time.
Considering the fact that any entry-level construction job will require familiarity with tools and techniques, it is important that the BUILD program starts from the very basics.
BUILD is more than just a job. Along with six months of paid training, employees are able to learn a variety of employable and life skills that will serve them well after their time spent at BUILD. In addition to the hard skills acquired during training, trainees are also able to access personal life coaching, driver training, parenting courses, and cooking classes.
Last but not least, the training program at BUILD allows individuals to make personal connections with each other and potential employers. We all know how important it is to have a personal support system when it comes to overcoming obstacles and making changes in your life. BUILD attempts to create a supportive and productive community that will help its trainees flourish.
How you can help
If you live in Manitoba, you may want to consider hiring BUILD Inc. for your next construction or renovation project. BUILD is a Manitoba Hydro approved insulation installer that may come in handy when insulating your attic, basement, or walls in order to reduce your carbon emissions and lower your utility bills. Similarly, if you have any construction related repair and maintenance jobs, don’t hesitate to reach out to this amazing social enterprise.
You can make a difference in the lives of others by supporting similar social enterprises that value their workers and work towards improving communities. And, it can also be beneficial to write to your elected representatives to advocate for your government to purchase goods and services from social enterprises.
This is another great example of how communities and individuals can flourish while taking positive action for the environment. Inspiring right? We can make change happen!
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