This summer, Beazer Homes USA pioneered an initiative to help introduce Hispanic college students to the management career opportunities of the home building industry. As a part of the newly formed Team Builders program, Beazer hosted 16 student interns in a variety of positions across the country. And according to recently released survey results of both the company's management supervisors and the interns themselves, both groups declare the program to be a success.

The first project of its kind for the industry, Team Builders was designed as a three-year plan with employee retention as the long-term goal. With Beazer as the founding sponsor, the initiative was launched in March by the Home Builders Institute (HBI) and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's LOFT (Latinos on the Fast Track) program.

“We wanted to find a way to help these very bright students see all the opportunities in growing and promising industries, like home building, that they may not know about,” says Anita Galiano Ayala, senior manager of LOFT.

At the same time, home building companies have recognized the need for increased diversity among their management ranks. “Our workforce needs to reflect our customer base,” says Fred Fratto, senior vice president of human resources at Beazer. “And our customer base is becoming increasingly diverse.”

After mining potential candidates from a pool of thousands, LOFT presented several candidates to Beazer for a variety of positions across the country. Supervisors then interviewed the candidates and determined the best match for positions in every area from finance to construction management to customer care.

During the 10-week summer program, the students experienced total immersion and were tasked with “real” responsibilities. And after seeing a bit of the industry through division-level eyes, students also will get a chance to see the whole industry when they attend the International Builders Show in February 2007, thanks to funding from the National Housing Endowment.

“It's our hope that, by creating a positive experience that allows for learning outside the classroom, these students will want to continue their careers here full time upon graduation,” says Fratto.

Throughout the program, and again at the end, formal and informal surveys of the interns and of Beazer managers were conducted to track success or identify areas of improvement. According to Galiano Ayala, the managers and interns were equally enamored with each other. “I know that a handful of the interns were already offered jobs, and several were accepted,” she says.

Discussions currently are underway with several builders regarding intern placement programs for next summer. Recruiting for those positions will begin in January 2007. For more information visit or

What's the Verdict? After completing the 10-week Team Builders program this summer, participants completed an evaluation survey. Here's what both the supervisors at Beazer Homes USA and the Hispanic interns who participated in the program had to say about the experience.