SHERIDAN — Members of the Big Horn Home Builders Association dedicated their final meeting of the season to recognizing members of the Sheridan community involved in both philanthropy and professional development earlier this week.
Awards were presented to 14 Sheridan College students involved in technical programs, while the executive director of the nonprofit Food Group was presented with a $1,855 donation to further her group’s efforts.
The meeting was held Tuesday at the Best Western Sheridan Center.
A longtime supporter of SC tech programs, Home Builders Association President Eric Bouley said the slate of awards is intended to help students get a jump-start on their on their budding careers.
“We want to support them in their professional development,” he said.
Awards were presented to outstanding students in construction technology, HVAC and the carpentry apprenticeship program.
Winners were presented with tool vouchers worth varying amounts.
Established in 1978, the Home Builders Association provides a space for members of fields related to the residential building industry to network and discuss best practices.
Following Tuesday’s ceremony, Bouley said members are enthusiastic supporters of SC tech programs since most every local construction firm has benefited from hiring at least one of their graduates.
As for the group’s donation to the Food Group, the gift totaled about $600 more than last year. The nearly $1,900 donation was raised during a furniture raffle at the Home Builders Association’s recent Home and Garden Show.
Food Group Director Jess Riley said the donation will allow the organization to feed about nine students for an entire school year.
“That’s huge for us, and we’re so grateful they chose us to be the recipient,” she said.
The hunger alleviation group serves about 250 children in the Sheridan area during the academic year and another 80 during the summer months.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Sheridan College representatives addressed the association to speak in favor of the recent effort to upgrade SC’s Technical Education Center, which was constructed in 1977.
A special election on Aug. 20 will allow voters to decide whether to approve a bond measure worth nearly $16 million dedicated to improving the facility.
SC spokeswoman Wendy Smith said the move is a necessary step in allowing the college to continue producing highly skilled workers for area businesses.
“We’re turning away qualified students interested in the tech programs, and we have employers telling us qualified grads are essential to their operations,” Smith said.
Construction technology instructor Josh Michelena echoed her sentiment, saying the upgrade would be an important step toward ensuring the continued vitality of the Sheridan economy.
“We’re looking at expanding some of the programs so jobs can stay here,” he said.