Calhoun County Students Learn by Building a House
CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A group of Calhoun County teens are making a lasting impact on a Battle Creek neighborhood, one plank of wood at a time. The teens are building a house from the ground up to learn trade skills that could land them a job after high school. Newschannel 3 toured a home that the students are working on right now. We’re told that many of the students involved in these projects land construction or other vocational jobs right after high school.
The program is funded by taxpayers through the Calhoun Area Career Center, and it’s filling a critical demand for workers. Calhoun County high school students were proudly showing off months of hard work to family and friends on Tuesday. Once finished, the home on Bynum Street in Battle creek will be put on the market and students like Billy Polokovich will be poised to land jobs in the construction business.
“We helped lay cement, we helped with the trusses,” said Polokovich.
The program, sponsored by the Calhoun Area Career Center, is open to Calhoun County students who are interested in developing vocational skills.
Students were involved in almost all aspects of planning and development. Kris Jenkins, who works with the Calhoun Intermediate School District, has heard from local employers first-hand about the need for qualified workers.
“They’re telling us, you know, I need five workers, I need six workers,” said Jenkins, “I have a shortage here, I need pipe fitters, I need welders, I need construction workers.”
Students build one home each year under the supervision of homebuilding experts. For many of them the inspiration was simple; “I wanted to learn how to build a house,” said Polokovich. The end result, is a solid foundation for their future. Project supervisors say they hope to have this home finished by June. The money earned when the house is sold goes back to the Calhoun Area Career Center to help buy supplies for future students.