MEET THIS CHANGEMAKER: Debbie Rodriguez, founder and President of IBuild Central Florida, wants to change the stigma against construction workers and encourage more people to become tradespeople.
WHAT SHE’S DOING: Rodriguez owns two construction companies in the area and noticed a lack of qualified workers to do the work. When she talked with others across her industry, she heard the same sentiments. So she started her nonprofit, I Build Central Florida, in 2015 to connect construction industry leaders to potential workers through apprentice programs, local schools and trainings. It’s the only nonprofit in the area tackling this issue and currently has more than 100 people involved in making it work.
FUN FACT: Rodriguez never thought she’d work in the construction industry. She moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Orlando in her mid 20s and fell in love with the area because of its diversity and potential for growth.
QUOTABLE: “This isn’t about me. This about us. This is about our community. This is about changing people’s lives and teaching them something that they might not have had the opportunity to [learn].
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Watch tradespeople put their construction skills to the test during the IBuild Invitational on April 27. The event at Orange Technical College Mid Florida Campus in Orlando will have a construction job fair and skills competition that’s open to the public.