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School district giving students skills to build on

By Ann Knoedler

Every once in a while I see a bid notice offering a house for sale that was built by high school students as part of a building trades class.

The Portage Community School District has raised the bar for its high school building trades class. Rather than build a house this school year, the School Board approved having the class take part in the construction of a new 8,000-square-foot, wood framed school district administrative building. Of course they’ll get help, but what a fantastic experience for these kids.

District Office Building for Portage Community School District, Portage

General Engineering Co., Portage, issued a request for bids for construction of the building with bids due Aug. 12. Multiple work categories being bid include such things as building materials, excavation, concrete, masonry, drywall, mechanical and electrical, parking lot, carpet and painting.

With a real-world class like this, students experience first-hand the challenges and skills required should they decide to work in the construction field. Other career possibilities open up to them as well, because they become acquainted with the design aspect, working with a client and yes, even the importance of math beyond the classroom. Plus work habits are sharpened with the importance of meeting construction deadlines.

Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up and it seems to me that high school students especially should be provided an opportunity to “test drive” as many career possibilities as a school district is able to offer. This is where community businesses and industries must step up to give these kids a helping hand in one of the most important decisions they will have to make as adults.

I tip my hat to school districts that are doing just that.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at (414) 225-1822.

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