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Construction Trades: Skills for Their Future

Hanna Academy
Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program Highlight

Second Quarter 2023 Project: Building a Functional Bathroom

“We’re probably the only high school that is teaching these skills with a real scale-type model; one that the students can work on and learn from, using their hands. We are teaching real-world skills with real-world tools, going standard as much as possible, so they’re learning basic carpentry, wiring and plumbing.

What we needed was a model that we could actually work with. The structure was built so they could do work that could only be done below the floor, so they get the experience of having to crawl in tight areas to do necessary work, like drilling holes to install sewer line vents. We provide the correct tools to do all these functions; basically what they would expect to find on a professional job site. All of our tools and our equipment are legit; the gauges, pipes, connectors. This is basically an apprenticeship program because it’s the real thing.

The plan is to utilize this model every quarter this year. We’ll keep adding on construction-oriented features, wiring for a bathroom fan and light, possibly in the spring. We could potentially add a cabinet which the students could make in the woodshop – but that is a goal further down the line.

We have several seniors who are looking at graduating next year and they’re learning realistic, entry-level job skills in this field. The students can read a book or watch a video, but it’s not the hands-on, get dirty, mess-up and have-to-fix-it, experience that is truly valuable. They need to live through failures and problems, but also how to successfully approach them. I didn’t want this to be a ‘perfect model.’ I built in ‘mistakes’ that they are going to have to learn how to fix. Problem-solving is an important part of this training.”  

Students enrolled in this program also learn skills in sheet metal, woodwork, material planning and welding.