High school students are preparing for a bright future as their education now includes the opportunity for building a house and skills for a lifetime. Demand for skilled trade workers is soaring, so they are graduating with a good outlook for employment, and construction related skills that prepare them to follow a trade.
The year long building trades course is taught by OHS technology and engineering teacher Christopher Prahl, and produces one new house a year. He says that it is a great way to get students working in the construction trades, and preparing for careers. This year’s house was proudly displayed with an open house. This year, approximately half of his 18 students have already committed to various construction apprenticeships or construction management degrees.
“It’s a great learning experience,” Prahl said.
This year, the students purchased a lot in town for $75,000 and by the end of the school year, completed a more than 3,100-square-foot house. The house was listed at $369,900, and sold within 10 days of coming on the market in March.
The course has been part of the curriculum since 2001, and Prahl has taught it since 2009. He said the “incredibly high” demand for skilled labor in the state, as well as the interest among students, has kept the program going strong, with graduates well-positioned for good jobs.
“Students can have their choice of employment at this point in time with numerous companies recruiting because of the shortage of skilled labor,” he said. Students help build the houses from the ground up. The foundation is dug in August, and students begin rough framing, working with local contractors. Prahl said they then do most, if not all of insulation, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, drywall, roofing, siding, masonry, finish carpentry, trim, hardwood flooring, tile, cabinetry, granite countertops and more.