Shines Stories: CMBA Tools for Schools

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Stories | 0 comments

CMBA Tools For Schools Fund recently contributed over $20,000 to 15 area high schools for their industrial tech departments to help teach the building trades. The donations from the community via CMBA will put tools in the hands of future builders. 

Wanda Schroeder, Executive Director at CMBA shared more details. “The Tools for Schools Fund is the brainchild of the former CMBA President, Craig Schoenberg of Schoenberg Construction here in St. Cloud. The potential in young people today is amazing and their future is bright! The members of the CMBA believe this and want to ensure that construction trade students will be better equipped to discern the best fit for their future.  Ultimately, this will benefit us – our community – as we will have skilled, intelligent, and savvy workers and business owners in the trades.

The vision of the Central Minnesota Builders Association (CMBA) Tools for Schools program is to offer increased support to schools by providing tools, supplies, grants, education, and scholarships to enhance learning opportunities and to inspire more interest in the building trades as a career choice. The program has three primary goals:

  1. Enhance the learning experiences for high school students who show interest in entering the construction trades.
  2. Provide information and direction on career options within the trades.
  3. Address the building industry’s labor shortages.

We continually work to enhance the partnership between local School instructors, Students, CMBA membership, and our community through increasing visibility of our program and Central MN Student craftsmanship.” 

In June of 2021, the CMBA held their first Bags for Tools bean bag event where students in Central MN High Schools built the board sets that were used in the tournament. Sponsors had the opportunity to receive their own board sets and dollars raised went back into the fund to be distributed back to schools to accommodate their classroom equipment needs to continue educating on the trades. “This year we are, again, thinking outside the box, and excited to showcase students’ handiwork at the CMBA Home and Lifestyle Show on March 11th and 12th at the River’s Edge Convention Center where the community will have the opportunity to bid, in a silent auction, on Park Benches local students will be making as another fundraiser to bring awareness of this great cause.”

The CMBA has a committee of member volunteers and High School instructors that meets on a monthly basis to plan events, discuss opportunities, and assist in fundraising efforts. “Central MN School instructors have been phenomenal to work with. Those that have been most involved in our recent events include Joseph Schulte – Sartell High School, Jacob Masters – Sauk Rapids High School, Jeff Zimmer – Becker High School, Brian Kemmy – Foley High School, Alan Walz – Melrose High School, Sara Laudenbach – North Jr. High School, and Ashley Eisenbraun –  Kimball High School. Knowing how busy these instructors are and the challenges they have faced with remote learning over the last couple of years …they are doing a great job of ensuring students are exposed to these learning opportunities.”

CMBA membership consists of all businesses that affect building in Central MN, from bankers, electricians, suppliers, builders to all facets of those that contribute to the growth of our communities.  “Central MN is made up of businesses that have a strong commitment to strengthening and growing our communities. Greater St. Cloud provides a forum for collaboration across Central MN Businesses who help create exposure to a variety of needs. Through their forums, we can continue to educate the community on the needs in the building industry.” 

Many of the funds the schools receive through the Tools for Schools program are to upgrade their tools and equipment to prepare students for today’s trade careers. Because of the great shortage of skilled workforce in the trades, this program has been instrumental in building awareness and education in this industry. “The CMBA strives to improve the Central MN Building Industry by being advocates, educating our members about building industry best practices, engaging our members in activities that strengthen competitiveness and professionalism, and working to ensure an affordable housing industry for our communities.

You can also find information on Tools for Schools on the CMBA website,


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