Crow Foundation: on a mission to teach construction industry skills to students

“Building a better future, one skill, one home, one life, at a time,” is the slogan of the EHS Crow Foundation, founded by Garry Hughes and Elaine Bornemeier. The non-profit organization was established in 2016, with the mission of utilizing certified instructors to teach construction industry skills to high school students.

Instructors who are certified through the National Center for Construction Education and Research program use NCCER curriculum to provide hands-on training.

“We want to start training 10th-12th grade students in the craft skills, such as electricians, plumbers, air-conditioning and the construction industry. Later on I want to branch out into the mechanical and robotics fields,” Hughes said.

He explained the need for such craftsmen and craftswomen is great. Jobs in the construction industry often pay well, too.

Hughes pointed out how many college graduates do not use their degree. Then they end up thousands of dollars in debt.

However, when students are certified through NCCER, they can earn a living immediately out of high school.

“We are looking at Atascosa County and there are lots of properties that have been struck off,” Hughes said.

His program utilizes homes sourced from local tax offices and donated to the foundation, for hands-on training. Once renovations are complete the homes will be sold or rented to military veterans, single mothers or low to middle-income families.

“It is a win-win for everybody. We are going to be able to put people in houses. We’ll be creating employment and it will boost the economy. When people are working and have a place to stay, crime goes down. The city is going to be making money,” Hughes said.

The program benefits the local construction industry by providing fresh talent already trained, certified and ready to enter the workforce upon high school graduation. It also benefits local communities by providing affordable housing to families who otherwise could not afford it.

Proceeds from the sale/rental of the renovated homes will go back into the foundation and used to purchase additional homes.

He also wants people to understand that he wants as many young ladies to come on board as possible, as females are an often overlooked demographic for this type of work

The program utilizes connections at local military bases to locate potential instructors via the Transition Assistance Program. TAP prepares military members for entry into the civilian workforce. Chosen instructors will be trained and certified by ABC San Antonio for $150 per person.

Hughes is hoping to get the local community on board with him and help raise funds for the foundation. Similar programs have already been established and determined to be successful at high schools around the country, Hughes said.

A native of South Africa, Hughes is certified to teach core curriculum, electrical and more. He has over 30 years experience and has travelled the world. Part of his career includes working with aircraft maintenance in West Texas, working for the Navy and TransOcean deep sea drilling company. He currently resides in the Sandy Oaks area.

He is seeking:

-Industry experts and leaders willing to serve on the board or be an advisor to the foundation.

-Capital to get the program up and running (supplies, tools, money).

-Referrals to other businesses or individuals who may be interested in being involved.

Anyone interested in assisting may contact Hughes by phone at 972-849-8326 or email him at ehscrow@yahoo.com