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More High Schools Offer Construction Training

As the building industry continues to combat a skilled labor shortage, some industry peers are laying the foundation for future workers.

For high school students who ultimately want to escape the cubicle and make a nice living, the construction industry beckons. In the current issue of Engineered Wood magazine, we showcased the construction training courses at Oak Creek High School in Wisconsin that are helping prepare the next generation of builders.

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Here are just a few of the many similar programs springing up coast to coast:

  • The Building Industry Technology Academy (BITA) is a four-year high school construction trades training program sponsored by the California Homebuilding Foundation. BITA has programs in nine California counties, including eight programs at high schools in Orange County alone.
  • Finalists in this year’s Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize include construction trades programs at high schools in Gulfport, Miss., Enumclaw, Wash., Rohnert Park, Calif., and Williamsport, Pa.
  • Casa Uber Alles won a 2017 Best in American Living Award by the judging panel and the National Association of Home Builders Design Committee. The Fredericksburg, Texas, home was built by high school students in the Fredericksburg Independent School District, with the support of the Hill Country Builders Association and was clad in LP® SmartSide® Trim and Siding.

There are many noteworthy architects and builders who chose technical training over a college degree. Frank Lloyd Wright, America's most revered architect, dropped out of college in his first year. Mies van der Rohe, Europe's most acclaimed architect, began his career as an apprentice brick mason.

While there are many benefits to attending college, high school students who forego the college path get to enter the workforce without the 200 000 $ debt associated with the typical four-year private college. We think that van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright would have heartily approved of their decision.

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