DENVER - Houses along the Front Range can’t be built fast enough. Part of the problem is a booming population. There’s also a shortage of construction workers to get the job done.

The Colorado Homebuilding Academy is an effort to get more people to work. People like Shimai Hunter.

“I don’t have any construction experience,” Hunter says. “I actually come from a case management background.”

No experience? No problem. The core of the program — what director Michael Smith calls their textbook — is half of a two-story house, most of its guts still exposed, standing in a warehouse near Denver’s Globeville neighborhood. The space around the house is littered with sawhorses and workstations. Hunter says the program was intimidating at first.

“But once you start touching the products and feeling you know, the tools, what a two by four is and how you cut it, and cutting it at 45 degree angle, it changes everything,” she says. “Like I look forward to it.”

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