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Enzoco Homes provides an on-site learning experience for CVCC summer campers

Enzo Perfetto, the 2012 president of the Home Builders Association of  Greater Cleveland and manager of Enzoco Homes, is reaching out to  enlighten students about careers in the homebuilding industry.

IMG_3505.JPGEnzo Perfetto, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland and manager of Enzo Homes (far left); Mike Foor, a camp instructor (back left); electrician Rudy Novak (back right); Chris Stricklett, camp and construction trades instructor for Cuyahoga Valley Career center (far right), and the campers.

“When I became president, one of my two main agendas was to further the  education of kids who want to get into the homebuilding industry or the  trades. But what we’ve realized is that most colleges don’t really have a lot of opportunities for kids who want to learn heating, cooling,  electrical, and things like that,” said Perfetto. “One thing led to  another and I heard about Cuyahoga Valley Career Center’s programs in  home building and the trades.” The class visits Perfetto visited Cuyahoga Valley Career Center early this year and had the opportunity to go to many of the school’s classes. “I started with electrical and went to the framing, heating, and  drafting classes. I got to speak to each of the classes and had the  opportunity to let the kids know that there’s a huge future in the  construction industry,” he said. “I was just talking to my electrician and he said that there is a huge  demand for good, qualified trades that know their field. The majority of students today are going into professional fields like accounting. I  wanted to stress to these kids that having a successful future doesn’t  always mean that you have to have a college degree. There are plenty of  kids out there that that’s not their thing. I’m the perfect example of  that. “I want to stress that the building industry and the trades are as  professional as it gets. What I want to do is raise the level of  awareness that, semantics aside, this field is just as demanding and  important as college degreed fields. In fact, it may be even more  important because there is such a dwindling pool of actual talent that  can do these jobs. This is where you have to put your work boots on, get out in the field, and produce something. It’s vital because you can’t  outsource or automate home construction. And we need homes in our  nation.” Perfetto also let the kids know that housing is on the rebound and  things are picking up. “I told them to stay the course because they will be in big demand in the very near future,” he said. After each of the classes, Perfetto had the opportunity to talk to each  of the instructors. They said, “It would be really great if our summer  campers could visit a home under construction and see, firsthand, what  goes on at the job sites?” Perfetto jumped on the opportunity and invited two classes out to a home that he is building in Chesterland. The summer camp The summer camp brings together seventh, eighth and ninth graders for 30 hours over a one-week time period. The students have the opportunity to build an Adirondack chair and a nice footrest to get them interested in construction and using hand and power tools. “By bringing them out to the home, the students had the opportunity to  see that the trades still do exist,” said Mike Foor, an industrial tech  teacher at Independence High School and a teacher of the summer camp  program. “It’s really nice because it’s a great opportunity to get females  interested in the trades, as well. There really is a high need for women in the industry, and it’s a great opportunity for a rewarding career,” said Chris Stricklett, construction trades instructor at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. Stricklett boasted about the summer camp. “I love teaching these kids.  It’s a really great time. The kids are really proud and the parents are  extremely proud when they see the finished chair and footrest. These  kids do all of the work themselves. They cut and fashion all of the  parts. We don’t have a stack of pieces that they just assemble. They  make, cut and sand every part with the machines.” “It’s so nice, too, because so many industrial tech programs with traditional woodshops have been totally eliminated from schools. This is the first exposure that these kids get using a saw and working with  their hands,” Foor said. According to Stricklett, the summer camp has continually fed students  into his program at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. “It definitely  generates the students’ interest in construction.” The on-site home construction visit Thirty-six students had the opportunity to visit Perfetto’s home site.  He provided the students with a quick 101 of the homebuilding industry  and how a vacant lot ends up with a home on it. He explained where  customers come from by sharing a story about his current buyers for the  home in Chesterland. “I told the campers that 30 days ago, this piece of land was a vacant  lot. We had a customer who lived across the street that toured our model home. We started negotiating and I presented a design that I created  myself. We went back and forth on design, priced it out, they agreed on a price, and they signed a contract. In this instance, the homeowner  bought the lot, which is the norm 50 percent of the time, and they  obtained financing. We then pulled the permits, cleared the lot, and  started construction. I explained how the whole chain of events happens  in terms of construction. The students had the opportunity to then tour  the home.” The home is a 2,000 square-foot colonial with a first-floor master. It’s a custom-designed home that was adapted from one of Enzoco Homes’ previously built floor plans. During the visit, Perfetto also explained the direction of the industry, how much opportunity is out there, and more. According to Perfetto, the instructors really wanted to put a face to what these kids were  learning at the camp. “My electrician says that every time he hires, his first preference goes to schools like Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. These are young  adults who are trained professionally and who are disciplined. These  campers are a true testament to that. They are devoting their summer to  going to classes, visiting job sites, and learning the correct way to  take on building. The kids that come out of these career-based schools  are the cream of the crop,” he stated. Future plans Perfetto hopes to offer this opportunity to other career centers and students over the coming year. “I gave the students who visited handouts and all of my contact  information. If they ever want to come back out to a site or want to ask me a question, I want to be their quasi-mentor for down the road to  keep them encouraged about this industry. “This has really become my pet project. I want to, in my own little way, advance and help out as much as I can. I’m encouraging my trades that  if they are ever looking for candidates or apprentices go to the Career  Centers. This is near and dear to my heart. It’s the opportunity that I  was given at a young age through my father to get into the industry. I  just want to give back,” he said.