Students learn trade skills by building home

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 9:53 PM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) -- For fifteen years, students at Sun Prairie High School have experienced what it is like to learn a trade by building a home.

Technology Education Teacher Justin Zander said the class is crucial because of an aging workforce.

"There is no better class that a kid can take," said Zander.

"We're doing the hardwood right now. We're just finishing up by the edges and stuff but the rest of the kids are putting in some doors. We're just finishing up," said Sun Prairie High School Junior Isaac Lund.

Every year, a class of high school students design and build a house, almost from scratch.

Lund already knows this experience is setting him up for success.

"I want to start out as a framer and then eventually maybe own my own business or become a project manager," said Lund.

Zander said it is crucial for the future workforce.

"The average age of people in the trades is well into their 50s and we are going to need people in the trades. We're not going to be able to accommodate people the number of people leaving the trades with what we've got coming into the trades," said Zander. "This is something that will never be outsourced… There's no way of doing it, unless we have skilled laborers who actually build your homes."

Zander started teaching this program in another school district in 2001.

At that time, there was probably about 40 programs in the state that I could find and since that time more and more of them have let the programs dissolve," said Zander.

But in Sun Prairie, there are more kids who want to be in the program than what it can accommodate.

Once the house sells, the money goes back into the program for the next year.

Copyright 2017: WMTV