Trades training: a pathway to an abundant life

Whatcom County is a hidden gem; with abundant recreation opportunities, a thriving arts sector, and high quality school and health systems it’s a desirable place to live. The job sector is equally as fulfilling, with competitive wages in fast growing industries like manufacturing, construction and home repair. But if you’re an adult hoping to start a new career in these trades, your education opportunities are all but non-existent. 

Our Community Jobs Training Program is changing that, making trades training an option for historically underserved communities. We believe trades training to be a viable career path – in fact many of Whatcom County’s most well known and well loved local businesses were started by carpenters, welders, plumbers, electricians and home inspectors. 

Brandon Nelson, one of Whatcom County’s most successful realtors and owner of Brandon Nelson Partners Realtors, is a big supporter of local trades training. In 2020, Brandon became a sponsor of our Community Jobs Training Program. “Brandon Nelson Partners Realtors has given my family and I an abundant life. A foundational part of that is giving back to the community that has given us so much. One channel of giving back is donating to The RE Store’s Community Jobs Training Program. This is close to my heart because my success in real estate and business began in the trades, specifically, carpentry.”

Brandon started his professional career in the 90’s as a laborer and carpentry apprentice. He fell in love with the blend of hard, physical work and focused, careful mental work. That, and the fact that when he walked away from a job, he had something he could point to, drive by, attend a party at, remodel, expand and feature in a portfolio of completed projects. 

After a few years as a carpentry apprentice he became a licensed general contractor and began his own firm. “My carpentry skills and a small set of tools were like a passport to work anytime and anywhere I wanted it,” says Brandon. “My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I could be in any country in the world, and I could trade carpentry work for literally anything; meals, housing, recreation, transportation and money. Every community in the world has people who need things built, remodeled, and fixed… and I had that magic, in-demand skill set.” 

Nine years later he took the next step with home inspector training at Bellingham Technical College. “My construction background gave me a huge leg up. I already had a successful business as a general contractor and then I was able to add on inspection services,” says Brandon. He soon moved into real estate sales, having both his carpentry and inspection skills to fall back on. “I moonlighted in those trades to keep money coming in as I stitched together a few sales in the first year,” he says.

In 2006 he launched Brandon Nelson Partners Realtors, and began hiring – creating jobs within the community. “To this day, I use my carpentry skills every week. Every bit of my success came from that entry level job when I was 23,” says Brandon. “I passionately support the Community Jobs Training Program because I hope that 25 years from now I hear from someone that their humble beginning of learning a basic trade led them to a life of abundance and giving back. That would be the ultimate reward, in what has already been a very rewarding path.”

To support this work, we’ve set a goal of $10,000 for Rockin’ for The RE Store to ensure that trainees like Tristan can continue to succeed in their career goals. You can help by purchasing a $5 raffle ticket or by donating to help us reach our goal. Raffle tickets will put you in the running to win one of our amazing raffle prizes: a 2020 Marin San Rafael hybrid bike, a brand new 27″ 8-drawer Proto tool box or a $250 gift certificate for a custom Revision Division furnishing piece. Get your ticket before May 21, 2021 at The RE Store, 2309 Meridian St. Bellingham, WA.