Balfour Beatty, in joint venture with Holt Brothers, is partnering with Healthcare Foundation of Wilson and the Wilson Family YMCA to create a Construction Academy afterschool program for middle school students, and to deliver a YMCA facility for the new Wilson Middle School After School (MSAS) programs. The new Construction Academy program and dynamic shared-space YMCA facility will provide unique opportunities for youth to build brighter futures in Wilson County.
The Construction Academy and new YMCA building are part of a larger community initiative funded by Healthcare Foundation of Wilson to develop MSAS programs with engaging, hands-on afterschool activity choices for middle schoolers ages 11-14. In 2018, Healthcare Foundation of Wilson approved a $22 million grant for the Wilson Family YMCA to design, build, and sustain the MSAS program and new YMCA facility that will serve as a shared space for middle school youth to discover their strengths, explore their passions, and help their young minds grow with a focus on health and wellness.
“We are excited about the opportunities that are already evolving for middle school youth to participate in real and unique experiences,” said Denise O’Hara, executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Wilson. “We are funding the creation of this program and building specifically to meet the afterschool needs of Wilson’s middle school students, and we are grateful to the design and build team for engaging youth at this stage.”
The MSAS Construction Academy program will consist of an 18-month curriculum for middle school students that will explore the construction industry alongside Balfour Beatty and Holt Brothers team members. Students will have the opportunity to learn about careers in construction and career readiness, resume writing and interview skills, and the importance of teamwork and community engagement. Additionally, youth will have the opportunity to dive into construction operations, innovation and technology through building their own mock construction projects, flying drones, playing engineering games, participating in virtual and in-person job walks and more.
“Our team members are thrilled at the opportunity to teach the future generation of Wilson County with the Construction Academy afterschool program,” said Chad Humphrey, Balfour Beatty market lead in North Carolina. “In partnering with Holt Brothers, Healthcare Foundation of Wilson and the Wilson Family YMCA, we look forward to providing an influential and educational program for our community’s youth to jumpstart their interest in a career in construction, and delivering a dynamic space for MSAS programming for years to come.”
The new multi-level, 72,000-square-foot Wilson Family YMCA will serve as a safe place for middle school youth to learn, have fun, connect and grow into their full potential. The building will feature innovative learning spaces including a kitchen, science lab, makerspace and art room, fitness areas for youth and YMCA members, natatorium, and office space. The Wilson MSAS Program is scheduled to officially launch in Fall 2022 with a full menu of afterschool options at the new YMCA facility on the 100 block of Pine Street in Downtown Wilson.
“The Wilson Family YMCA and Healthcare Foundation of Wilson have a shared commitment to build a brighter future for all of Wilson's middle school students,” said Kathie Davis, executive director of the Wilson Family YMCA. “The Construction Academy program is an incredible opportunity to begin hands-on programming at our new YMCA facility. Balfour Beatty and Holt Brothers have structured an interactive framework that will be informative, educational and fun, and we are extremely excited and grateful to be part of the team.”
The MSAS Construction Academy is now taking applicants for its February 2021-August 2022 class. The program is set to start virtually Feb. 1, 2021 and is open to all Wilson County middle school students. To learn more about the program or to sign up visit Balfour Beatty’s website.
About Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty is an industry-leading provider of general contracting, at-risk construction management and design-build services for public and private sector clients across the United States. Performing heavy civil and vertical construction, the company is part of Balfour Beatty plc (LSE: BBY), a leading international infrastructure group that provides innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. Balfour Beatty is ranked among the top domestic building contractors in the United States by Engineering News-Record. To learn more, visit www.balfourbeattyus.com.
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