The Austin Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Workforce Development Foundation awarded two $5,000 scholarships to Leander ISD class of 2023 students, closing out the school year with a generous demonstration of the partnership between the organization and LISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) classrooms.

Vista Ridge High School’s Bodie Vanlandingham was the recipient of the Workforce Development Scholarship, and Vandegrift High School’s Claire Suong was the recipient of the Clarence Guerrero Memorial Scholarship.

“My father, Clarence Guerrero, was a carpenter, his father was a carpenter and his grandfather was a carpenter,” CG&S Design and Build Owner and Austin NARI Member Dolores Davis said. “He fundamentally believed that if you had these skills you could grow and enhance and be able to take care of your family and yourself, which he did. He and my mom started a company in 1957, and that company is still going strong today.”

The Austin NARI Group has collaborated with LISD for several years, primarily partnering with LISD CTE programs that relate to the remodeling industry, including architecture, interior design, construction, electrical, welding and HVAC. 

Executive Director of Austin NARI Kayvon Leath shared that the purpose of the Austin NARI group is to mentor, train, educate and inspire the future workforce to promote a strong presence in the trades throughout the Remodeling Industry.

“Any ways that we can help students bridge the gap of learning in the classroom and real life experiences, that has been our goal,” Davis said.

Austin NARI members met with CTE teachers during a fall kick-off event in 2022, taking advantage of the opportunity to form relationships and make plans for the school year. During the 2022-23 school year, NARI members made 24 LISD classroom connections, volunteering as guest speakers, working on collaborative projects with students, leading field trips, serving as program mentors and donating to classroom projects. The group also offered six paid summer internships to LISD high school students.

“I think pretty much across the board, for every one of us who has spoken in classrooms, the experience has been very positive,” Realty Restoration Owner and Austin NARI Member David Davison said. “The students want to hear our story. We put a face to our industry, and what could it be to the students as far as a career.”

Moving into the 2023-24 school year, Austin NARI plans to continue teaching, mentoring and collaborating with teachers and students in LISD classrooms, as well as offering scholarships and internships. Moving forward, they will also provide classroom grants to assist with various CTE program projects.

“All of these have been extra steps that the Austin NARI chapter has chosen to take to specifically partner with K-12 education to build a workforce pipeline in their industries,” LISD Assistant Director of Career Development Jamie Everett said.

Leander ISD CTE programs are designed to provide authentic learning experiences through academically rigorous and industry aligned curriculum. These programs allow students to gain industry work experience and earn industry-based certifications.

“One of the goals that we really are working on and we want to do more of is that industry connection – we call it work-based learning,” LISD Senior Director of College and Career Transition Programs Camille Clay said. “The closer we can get the industry to the teacher, the closer we’re going to get the industry directly to the student.”