Go Build Alabama today announced recipients of the its new Go Build’s Career Kickstart Scholarship. Alabama’s Kiera Thrasher, 21, of Hayden, and Reed Holbrooks, 18, of Glencoe were selected as the 2019 award winners. Each will each receive up to $10,000 in first-year tuition to an Alabama community college for efforts in furthering their education in a skilled trade.
Thrasher will pursue a building construction and engineering technology degree at Wallace State Community College. Holbrooks is currently studying heating, refrigeration and electrical at Gadsden State Community College.
“I felt very surprised and honored [to receive the scholarship],” said Thrasher. “I am blessed to have this opportunity, and I’m thrilled that there are organizations like Go Build Alabama in our community that are helping young people with their education.
Thrasher added, “As a teen, I liked to woodwork and build costume props with my grandfather. He was a very talented, self-taught carpenter, and he passed some of that knowledge to me. It’s truly incredible what you can do with some simple raw materials and a little imagination. Now, creating things and working with my hands are great passions of mine. I love undergoing projects and seeing them from start to finish. It’s amazing to see what I can build on my own, but I think it’ll be even more incredible to see what I can accomplish working as part of a team on large-scale projects.”
For a decade now, Go Build Alabama has been actively promoting skilled trades by showing young people that a four-year degree, and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, isn’t required to earn a decent living in the construction industry.
“This scholarship will be an enormous help with the tuition, books and tools needed for school,” said Holbrooks. “During the past several months, I have been working in the HVAC field, and I am truly enjoying learning the trade. I feel that this work experience is preparing me for my first semester at Gadsden State Community College and for my future career.”
A well-rounded training program is needed for Alabama workers as the technology within the construction industry continues to evolve, and Holbrooks feels the more education and experience he has the more prepared he will be for his career.
The Alabama Community College System offers various, hands-on training classes for dozens of skilled trades — proving a two-year degree is an excellent way to “learn before you earn.”
“Go Build is excited to be a part of our state’s future in helping to provide a skilled, capable workforce,” said Jason Phelps, Go Build Alabama executive director. “We hope this scholarship will aid in the success of Kiera and Reed, along with many other students that would like to pursue a trade career.”
“People say if you love your job, you never work a day in your life,” said Thrasher. “I think that’s a good guideline for choosing what you want to do: find yourself a job that’s both financially and emotionally rewarding.”
Go Build Alabama also awards a Student of the Month scholarship to high school juniors or seniors who plan to pursue careers in the construction industry. Upon graduation, recipients will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their training at an Alabama institution of higher education.
For more information on Go Build Alabama or how to apply for Go Build’s Student of the Month award, visit GoBuildAlabama.com.