Janesville25.5°

Program helps build builders for the future

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
April 11, 2008
— The new relationship between the South Central Wisconsin Builders Association and the Janesville high schools’ Advanced Construction class works like this:

-- Each year, a different SCWBA builder will donate the lot and market the finished house.


-- The builder arranges for vendors and subcontractors to supply expert advice and donations or heavily discounted materials. Members have responded enthusiastically to requests for help, said Tim Weber of Webco, the first house-build sponsor.


-- At the end of the school year, the house is sold at the market rate, and proceeds are banked to finance future houses and future activities of the SCWBA student clubs at Parker and Craig high schools.


The hope is that the program will become self-sustaining over the next 10 years, said Steve Huth, the school district’s vocational education coordinator.


The SCWBA-sponsored clubs are open to any student. Speakers are brought in, and students go on field trips, such as a visit to a truss plant in Beloit or to the pouring of a foundation.


SCWBA also sponsors a design contest.


“We’re trying to get these kids involved earlier because the house-building project is for the seniors only,” Weber said.


Getting students interested is in the interest of the builders and trades people who belong to SCWBA.


“We are at a time in our society where a lot of kids are not interested in the building trades. They haven’t been exposed to that,” Weber said.


And that means there’s a lack of young workers to replace retirees, Weber said.


“We’re looking for future employees and business owners in the construction industry,” Weber said.


House building is not having a great year with the declining economy, but Weber predicts this will be the worst year before the market rebounds.


And even if the students don’t enter the building trades, they’ll be able to work on their own homes someday, Weber said.



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