Cedar Falls CAPS partners with Iowa Heartland to rehabilitate a home for a local family

Cedar Falls CAPS will host a special event on Friday, October 22, 2021. From 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at 913 Bluff Street in Cedar Falls. The Cedar Falls High School CAPS Industries team will showcase the renovation of a 1920s era home being done in partnership with Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity.

"We are so excited for the opportunity to partner with the CAPS program on this project. Community partnerships and collaboration are central to our mission,” said Executive Director of Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity Ali Parrish.  “We know there is a great need for skilled workers in the construction trades area, and we are hopeful the partnership between CAPS and Iowa Heartland Habitat will advance affordable housing and workforce development initiatives in the community at the same time."

The open house will showcase the work that has been done by the newest profession-based learning program at Cedar Falls High School. CAPS Industries student-associates are learning new skill sets and opening their eyes to opportunities related to construction and trades by being a part of not just the demolition of the interior spaces for the remodel and the planning and remodeling of the project as a whole. The open house is open to the public with parking available across the street from the project site in the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church parking lot.  Closed-toed shoes are required to tour the house.

CF CAPS Industries instructor Dave Grund sees the biggest benefit for this program is the ability for high school Juniors and Seniors to network with various construction and trades professionals, owners, and leaders of companies in the Cedar Valley. “This project is giving our associates a clearer pathway to technical careers with real-world on-site training. These high school students are getting the chance to work side by side with professionals in the industry and find their passion that could lead to a really good career opportunity after they graduate.”  

This fall Cedar Falls High School launched the CF CAPS Industries strand with grant support from the Master Builders of Iowa, Governor’s STEM BEST, and sponsorship contributions from Hawkeye Community College, Huff Contracting, Benton's Ready Mix Concrete Inc., and Invision Architecture. 

Cedar Falls School Superintendent, Andy Pattee, said there were two main drivers in launching the construction trades strand in CAPS. First was the increased student interest and a community need for highly skilled workers in this area and the true benefit for the school and community to support the need of local businesses. “A true benefit of this program is helping students find their passion, which is a cornerstone of CAPS as it also allows these young people to explore potential future careers,” said Pattee.  “I do believe that this helps build a pipeline of workers to see the importance and value of this work and the ability to stay, live and raise a family in the Cedar Valley.”

Outside of the opportunity to renovate a local home, CAPS Industries student-associates work alongside professionals with PlumbTech at their Waterloo location when not onsite working on the project. Host partners are a key aspect of the success of the CAPS program. 

“We have invested resources into this program with the goal of reinvesting in the future,” said Brett Behrends, partner with Plumb Tech, Inc. “It is important for us to make sure young adults have opportunities in life because so many times they are led down a path by someone and they are not able to try different things to see what fits their personality. With the CAPS program, we are getting out in front of the student-associates with the hope that we can build relationships with them, helping them see the successful and rewarding life they can have through the trades.” 

CF CAPS Industries is one of six industry strands offered at Cedar Falls High School through the CAPS Profession-Based Learning program. A unique educational offering that is built around the four cornerstones of Innovation, Problem Solving, Professional Skills, and Career Exploration, with the mission to Prepare Students for their Purpose. 

Cedar Falls CAPS is a member of the Cedar Valley CAPS consortium programs in the region that will serve nearly 300 high school students this school year. CF CAPS is a member of the CAPS National Network and an Iowa STEM BEST Program Partner.