BELLE GLADE — Portions of a new Habitat for Humanity home intended for a family in Belle Glade were delivered via flatbed truck and crane to a Sixth Street site here in town on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
That family will soon get a new house sometime in the spring, thanks to work done by students from the Weitz Construction Academy on the Seminole Ridge High School campus in Westlake, the future owners and by Habitat for Humanity.
News cameras from at least one West Palm Beach TV station were present and Palm Beach County School Board member Marcia Andrews, who represents the Glades area, watched as the preconstructed sections were placed where they later will be assembled into the new residence.
About 170 students attend Seminole’s construction classes given under the auspices of the academy, run by teacher Rick Terkovich. They all signed up to learn trades involved in building houses from the ground up, including everything from carpentry and craftsmanship, electrical work, forging, framing and painting to pipe fitting, plumbing, roofing and welding.
The houses are built in sections at the high school, then trucked to sites and, once assembled and finished, have three bedrooms, two baths and everything else a home requires. The students have constructed about 10 so far.
They get a lot of solid experience, receive training from skilled professionals, and can earn certifications that can give them good-paying jobs right out of high school. The fading of the old apprenticeship system has sped up the pipeline, with employers looking for younger workers to replace retiring skilled Baby Boomers.
The old ways are being updated for modern times with many craft trades involved in home construction losing seasoned workers at earlier ages and employers now reaching out into high schools and even middle schools for new recruits.
Plenty of work is available in these fields in the 21st century, and the students’ enthusiasm is heightened through working on these projects. Several helped to position the building sections on Wednesday — only the seniors get to help load and unload them when the professionals move the new-home sections from campus to site.
They might even get a job for graduation, but they’ll have the perks from the construction academy to take with them into life, too — such as valuable certifications through the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration.