Since 2021, Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity’s Aging in Place critical home repair program has provided a dozen roof replacements for Pierce County senior homeowners – seven in partnership with the GAF Roofing Academy.
The GAF Roofing Academy is a free two-week training program provided by industry-leading roofing manufacturer GAF. The program is open to anyone age 18+ is interested in a roofing career. About half of local Roofing Academy students are service men and women transitioning out of the military and many others have never even swung a hammer before.
GAF Roofing Academy Instructor Michael Humenik is proud of the work that his Roofing Academy students do in the community. “Working with Habitat is great for our program,” says Mike. “I’m able to give these students real ‘boots on the roof’ experience, and they get to help out a senior in need. Getting the students real world experience ensures they are ready to be hired by our local GAF Certified and Master Elite contractors.” Over 80% of Mike’s students are hired in the roofing industry after taking his class.
The GAF Roofing Academy’s program consists of one week of training in residential shingle systems, and one week of commercial low slope installation using TPO single ply systems. All this training can be done in-house at GAF’s Lakewood training center. Over the summer, Roofing Academy students put their new steep slope skills to work volunteering with Tacoma Habitat, helping to provide a roof replacement for a local senior homeowner. All GAF-produced materials for Habitat projects are donated with the help of GAF’s Territory Manager Donovan Gladstone.
GAF’s annual donation of materials and labor is estimated to be over $40,000. Tacoma Habitat credits this partnership for their ability to do more than twice the roof replacements than they could do otherwise. Tacoma Habitat’s Aging in Place program fields multiple phone calls each week from low-income seniors who need their roof replaced. Many have owned their home for 50 years or more, and often are a surviving spouse living on social security.
“Working with the GAF Roofing Academy is a win-win; it’s a perfect fit for both of us.” says Virginia Phelps, Aging in Place Repair Coordinator. “Their donation of materials and volunteer hours allows us to stretch our resources to help more people. Every roof makes a difference.”
The first GAF Roofing Academy project of the 2023 season wrapped up this week in south Tacoma. Three more projects are planned between now and September.
GAF Roofing Academy registration is open now. To register or find more information, visit: www.gaf.com/roofingacademy. Learn about the other ways GAF supports Habitat for Humanity here.