In its first year at Smithville High School, Construction Technology created a lot of buzz among students. With 65 students enrolled in the 2016 spring semester, many of which have never held the tools of the trade, the program has a solid following and bright future. Interest in the program keeps growing and a higher number of trades students are expected in the fall semester.
“With only 30 percent of students going directly to a 4-year university, skills are needed for the other 70 percent of graduates who go straight into the job market or on to technical training,” said Mr. Ryan Moerbe, teacher of Construction Technology at SHS.
First year students learn skills they need to know to step onto a construction site with emphasis on safety and potential to earn industry certifications. Students also learn skills in reading construction plans, the use of hand and power tools, and the opportunity to put these skills to use building projects, which included planter boxes, cattle feeders, park benches, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and various art pieces, all of which are sold to help fund the program.
Second year students built two storage buildings which were built utilizing the same skills that would be needed in basic home construction.
In their second year, students can also expect to learn how to create plans using a computer aided drafting, or CAD, program, the current technology used by project managers and architects.
Construction Technology students have also been on field trips to construction sites to gain understanding how their training is relevant to a commercial worksite.
Skilled local professionals, like A&S Electric and Doug’s Plumbing, have also come to teach the students skills in plumbing and electrical, with a planned seminar in concrete work coming soon.
Mr. Moerbe sees the growth in his students.
“As the semester goes on, they get more and more confident in their skills by doing the work.” said Mr. Moerbe. “If we equip them with needed skills here, they can pick their job after graduation.”