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Business leaders help build Habitat for Humanity home in Tuscaloosa

West Alabama executives spent a recent fine, fall day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa’s annual CEO Build, an initiative that brings together business leaders to build a Habitat home for a deserving family.

Business leaders from more than 25 area companies participated in this year’s build, which was led by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International CEO and President Michael Göbel.

“We believe that – in order to be good corporate citizens – we must take steps to support our community,” Göbel said. “Over the past few years, our team members have taken part in a six-week home building project at various locations. They build homes with the same attention to quality and efficiency we put into our cars.”

The volunteers worked on the interior and exterior of the home, including installing cabinets and flooring, painting, and working on the baseboards and trim. The home, in the West End community of Tuscaloosa, is the second one to be built as a part of Operation Transformation, a project to create a new neighborhood of 40 homes while using the building sites as training grounds to teach construction skills to Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy (TCTA) students.

“Operation Transformation adds an entirely new dimension in Habitat Tuscaloosa’s service to the community,” said Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa Executive Director Ellen Potts. “We realized we could use our build sites to give much needed, hands-on job training to young people in an industry that desperately needs skilled labor. Through Operation Transformation, we can serve our community in a whole new way, while still ‘staying in our lane’ by building new homes and repairing existing ones.”

In addition to helping revitalize the West End community with new housing and training students for job skills, Operation Transformation envisions additional businesses moving into the area to provide services to the community, boosting the local economy. A number of corporations and institutions made contributions to make the Habitat project possible, including the Alabama Power Foundation. Alabama Power Western Division Vice President Mark Crews took part in the CEO Build.

“It’s always so great to join with other business leaders in Tuscaloosa and work together on something that has such a positive impact on our community,” Crews said.

“This project is very beneficial to Tuscaloosa. It’s not only providing housing for those in need, but also offering workforce development opportunities to students,” Crews added. “We are grateful for the support of the Alabama Power Foundation, proud of the work of our employees on past projects with Habitat and we look forward to future opportunities.”

Earlier this year, TCTA students helped frame and install “smart house” electrical wiring for the 18th National Championship House sponsored by Nick’s Kids Foundation. TCTA’s carpentry, electrical and plumbing students are expected to work on several houses during the 2021-22 school year, and TCTA students from other disciplines, such as culinary arts, agriculture and broadcast media, will also participate. As part of Operation Transformation, TCTA students will have the opportunity to continue their training at the new Skilled Trades of West Alabama facility in Tuscaloosa, so they can ultimately help fill well-paid positions in construction, plumbing, HVAC and other skilled crafts.

“Since the April 27, 2011 tornado, we have built 88 new homes and repaired over 400 existing homes, mostly with volunteers, like the executives working on the Jones family’s home for the CEO Build,” Potts said. “We are grateful to the Alabama Power Foundation and generous corporate supporters who make all of this possible. Together, we can build a better Tuscaloosa County.”

Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa is seeking additional support to make Operation Transformation a success. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to donate to the initiative, click here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

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