Salem High School’s still-developing Construction Trades Program is looking for a few local projects, and that could be good news for you.
The program incubated a year ago, and this semester, in its first year, there are 22 students signed up, according to SHS principal Marty Anderson. Organizers originally hoped for six students, hoping it would grow to 30 in five years.
The good news for some of you is this: If you are within the Salem city limits, for the cost of materials and a 20 percent equipment fee (based on cost of materials with a $200 minimum fee), you can have the Construction Trades Program complete a project at your home. There is no charge for labor. Submit Your Project
The program utilizes existing community housing to not only provide students the opportunity to apply learned technical skills and create post-secondary pipelines for education and employment options, but to accomplish this by revitalizing the local housing market through their projects.
“We need our community to support our efforts,” Anderson said. “We need jobs for our students to learn these skills. This is a huge win-win for our community and our students.”
Projects are limited only by your imagination. The training program provides students with creative and technical skills to gain real-life, hands-on experience through classroom and on-the-job training. Projects that can be undertaken by the students include:
• rough and finished carpentry
• rough and finished plumbing
That covers a lot of construction territory. The students work under the direction of first-year instructor A.J. Tinker and hope to take on two to three projects per semester. Growing up in Cook Station, Tinker attended high school in Steelville and spent his junior and senior years in the construction trades program at Rolla Technical Institute. Additionally, he spent the last 18 years teaching at Rolla Technical Institute. He also spent seven and a half years in the private construction field.
Salem R-80 is partnering with local businesses and community leaders to offer the Construction Trades Program for junior and senior students.
“In an effort to fill the skills gap in the construction trades, this partnership has emerged to overcome the challenges our community faces and achieve shared goals,” according to the program’s website (r80ctp.org). The program, funded with private donations made through the Dent County Community Foundation, addresses several challenges facing the community – including lack of a current labor pool, a worker skills gap, an aging workforce and a lack of a talent for area construction.
In the process, another challenge is addressed, and that is the deteriorating condition of housing in the community. Students who need experience and houses that need repair are the perfect combination.
However, since the construction project also serves as a classroom project it cannot have a hard deadline, according to Anderson. “In other words, if the owner must have the project completed on a deadline this will not be the way to go,” he said. “Our program must take time to teach our students along the way of constructing the project. Typically, we are within a month of our projected deadline.”
Positions for construction trades will grow by eight percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That includes Dent County, where the program hopes to address several challenges facing the community’s labor pool, including a worker skills gap, aging workforce and lack of a talent pipeline for area construction, according to the website.
“Our students will go to work out of high school starting at $25 per hour or continue their training at no cost to them,” Anderson said. “The future is bright for our Construction Trades Program students.”
The CTP advisory council includes Anderson; Tinker; Wes Hester, CEO, Foxhole Technology, Inc.; R.J. Catizon, Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program/instructor; Wes Showalter, Missouri S&T University professor; Todd Parks, general contractor; Mike Wilson, general carpentry in Salem area; Dustin Howard, vice president, Bank of Salem; Janece Martin, director of Rolla Technical Institute, Rolla (retired); Bob Parsons, agriculture education instructor (retired); Alex Sellers, Dent County Community Foundation board member.
“The students in the construction trades program not only get to learn a trade that they can take with them and use for the rest of their life, but they get to be part of building and or renovating a building in the Salem area,” Tinker said. “They also take great pride in the projects that they work on. I’ve had students already take friends and family by our projects and show them what they have been doing in the program.”
To submit a construction project for consideration by the SHS Construction Trades Program, submit your name, contact information and a brief description of the project via an online form that can be found at www.r80ctp.org/submit-project. Hard-copy forms are available at The Salem News and Salem R-80 High School office and can be turned in to the high school. Your project will be considered based on the start date, time line for completion and student requirements during that time line. For more information contact instructor A.J. Tinker at firstname.lastname@example.org. All projects will be considered by the Construction Trades Advisory Council.