CCC construction students get hands-on training


CCC Instructor Ken Myers, center, talks construction to students at an affordable rental home in Flagstaff being built by Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona. The build was deemed a "CCC Instructional Site." For a video of the program, visit CCC's YouTube here.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Crews poured the foundation. Carpenters pounded nails and framed. Drywall went in. Up went the roof, and the shell stood ready for the new home to come to life.

During that time, dozens of Coconino Community College students in the construction trades got the chance to see what it takes to build a home from top to bottom.

“I thought instead of seeing pictures, I’d bring the students out and they could see it first hand,” said Ken Myers, full-time faculty for the construction trades in the Career and Technical Education Department. “When they come out and look at it and feel it, I can see a bunch of light bulbs come on.”

The effort to get the students onto a construction job site is a partnership between CCC and Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona. Housing Solutions builds affordable rental homes in northern Arizona. Called a “CCC Instructional Site,” the most recent home going up is in Sunnyside and will be a triplex housing three families.

“We’ve been working with CCC for the last six years,” said Greg Pishkur, Construction Manager for AHC Construction, the building arm of Housing Solutions.

The partnership between Housing Solutions and CCC began after the dissolution of the YouthBuild program in the county, Pishkur said. Myers, who ran the program for the county, was hired on with CCC as an instructor. He now leads the construction management program.

“It was natural for Ken to ask to bring people out to view some of the projects,” Pishkur said.

Myers said that students can learn some material in books and in class.

“But until you see those construction activities for real, it doesn’t really sink home as much,” Myers said.

The new home includes two two-bedroom units that are 1,300 square feet each, and there is a 1,550 square foot home that meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The students do some of the work, Myers said. For instance, they helped with concrete and will be doing the “green” work of making the homes meet green building requirements. The students air seal the dwellings, and they also insulate from the weather.

So, while they are doing the jobs, the students will begin to see the mechanics of installation and the building techniques that they’ll need to be aware of in the future.

“And when they do go to work, they’ll see it in real life,” Pishkur said.

Pishkur added that he believes it’s important for young people to get involved in the trades. College is important, he said, but not everybody will be heading off to college, and not everybody will want to go to college.

“There’s room for both men and women in the trades,” Pishkur said, adding that there is a need for skilled trades people.

“When people like me retire, there needs to be people behind us,” Pishkur said. Starting young is the best way to learn. “In 2050, we’re still going to need things built one stick at a time, and we’re going to need people who know how to do that.”

Myers said that students from a variety of classes were going to be brought to the site to learn. Among the classes to take tours of the site were Building and Construction Methods I and II, Blueprint Reading and Estimating, House Wiring and International Residential Code.

Myers said that the partnership will be good for the students who participate in the building process.

“When you see a building you worked on yourself, you can take pride in it and see it going to low-income families,” Myers said. “I think it goes to a sense of pride in the field they’ve chosen.”

Pishkur said he appreciates the students and what they do for the project.

“It works out to be a very good partnership,” Pishkur said. “I didn’t have to think twice about having the CCC students come out.”

For a video of the program, visit CCC's YouTube channel here


Wednesday, 4th May 2016

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  • Wednesday, 4th May 2016