The North Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association (NCOHBA) and Atwoods Ranch and Home are ensuring students in Meridian Technology Center’s construction trades programs have the skills – and the equipment – they need to safely go from the classroom to the construction site.
Boots on the Ground, a program led by NCOHBA, provides students in Meridian’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Facilities Management and Masonry programs with a pair of steel-toed work boots. Students who are new to these programs recently met with NCOHBA and Atwoods to get fitted.
Carpentry instructor Cy Boles indicated that boots from this initiative would be the first pair of industry-specific footwear for many students.
“Sometimes students don’t realize how important it is to have the proper work boots for a job,” he said. “We will see students come to class in shoes that aren’t ideal for working around the tools and equipment that are used on a job site. Boots on the Ground ensures that every student has proper footwear for the work they will be doing.”
Now in its second year, Boots on the Ground has equipped more than 150 students with boots tailored for the construction industry.
Stillwater student Hollis Mayfield received boots last year and has since put them to work inside and outside the classroom. This summer, the Carpentry student worked for a local construction company and wore his boots to the job site daily.
“Having a good pair of work boots is essential in this industry,” he said. “Health and safety is a big deal in the construction industry since so much of the job is physical. It’s important to have the right protection.”
Supporting Future Home Builders
Giving to Meridian’s construction trades students is a part of NCOHBA’s history with Meridian. For more than 30 years, the association has provided scholarships to construction trades students who qualified to compete in the national SkillsUSA competition. Students used their scholarship money to offset expenses related to attending the national contest.
NCOHBA board member Desiree Jenkins and Brenda Marlow, NCOHBA’s Operations Management Consultant, wanted to create a philanthropic opportunity for the association to impact every student in Meridian’s construction trades programs.
“The one thing that every construction trades student has in common is the need for protective footwear,” Jenkins explained. “Brenda and I knew the home builders association could provide students with what they need to literally get their feet on the ground in the construction industry – a pair of construction work boots.”
With that, the Boots on the Ground program was born. NCOHBA partnered with Stillwater’s local Atwoods Home and Ranch to purchase the boots at cost.
“When the home builders association came to Atwoods and asked us to partner with them to provide boots for Meridian students, it was an easy decision to make,” said William Edmond, assistant store manager of Atwoods. “We want to invest in Meridian and our community. As a company, we know that when you give where you live, there’s always a good return on your investment.”
Sizing is now complete, and Atwoods will place the order. As soon as boots are received, the NCOHBA and Atwoods will arrange to deliver them to students.
For Jenkins, Marlow and other members of the board, the Boots on the Ground program is not only about providing students with the tools they need for the job; it’s also about offering a network for their next step.
“Students in the construction trades program at Meridian are our future members,” Jenkins said. “We want them to know that the North Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association is here to support them and their career in the construction industry.”
The North Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, previously known as Stillwater Home Builders Association, is a professional organization representing those individuals and companies dedicated to providing quality housing and industry services in Stillwater and the surrounding areas.
The association strives to be a recognized leader in the building industry and provide our members opportunities for education, professional development, networking, fellowship and community involvement. For more information, visit ncohba.com.