Participants in the Outreach Construction Technology Program operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education, Regional Occupational Program, gathered on February 17 to celebrate the completion of three houses built by students.
In a ceremony held at the George Sim Community Center in South Sacramento, 28 students received certificates recognizing their newly acquired construction skills. The students then escorted their families on a tour of neighborhood homes they constructed under the guidance and direction of Sacramento County Regional Occupational Program (ROP) and Northern California Construction and Training, Inc., (NCCT) teachers.
Special student achievement awards were given to Vanessa Diane Franklin for academic excellence, Constance White for attendance, and John Mays for worksite performance. Student Mike McZeek made formal remarks in which he acknowledged the "life change" made possible by his participation in the Outreach Construction Technology Program.
Hosting the ceremony was the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, whose executive director—Anne Moore—served as master of ceremonies. Pastor Jeff Coburn of Signal Heights Baptist Church, which had provided the student classroom site for the duration of the project, delivered an invocation. On hand to congratulate the students was Sacramento City Council Member David Jones, District 6. Assisting in presentations of student awards and certificates of completion were Jim Smalley, ROP teacher, and Ted Niles, NCCT job site superintendent.
Recently named a recipient of the prestigious California School Boards Association Golden Bell Award, the Outreach Construction Technology Program was designed to:
- Prepare local residents for construction-related careers by giving them intensive instruction and hands-on job experience
- Build several well-designed and constructed homes for first-time, low-to-moderate income home-buyers
- Work closely with students to help them discover the best career path they should follow for entry-level jobs in construction-related careers—jobs with real chances for advancement and a continuing career
The majority of students now receiving certificates began the program in August. They spent two-thirds of the 210-day program in the classroom, studying math with construction applications, and learning about plumbing, electrical circuits, and safety requirements in the workplace. A number of students prepared for their GED exams.
The remainder of the students' time was spent on the three job sites, working under the direction of journeyman union carpenters. Students worked in every phase of the construction, including building forms, pouring concrete, framing, roofing, putting up drywall, installing cabinets, fencing, and landscaping.
The Outreach Construction Technology Program is a partnership of the Sacramento County Office of Education/Regional Occupational Program, the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and Northern California Construction and Training, Inc., a nonprofit union contractor and community-based organization.
- The staff from Sacramento Employment and Training Agency and La Familia Counseling Center recruited students and screened applicants. La Familia additionally provided counseling services, job placement assistance, help with resumes, work clothes, bus tickets, and child care to enable students to succeed in the program.
- The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency provided home sites, construction financing, materials, and house plans.
- Northern California Construction and Training, Inc., provided construction management and carpenter-instructors.
- The Regional Occupational Program provided academic and construction classroom instructors, as well as educational program oversight.
Close to 300 adults have participated in the Outreach Construction Technology Program since its start five years ago. Thirty-two homes have been built during this time. The students have been featured on local TV and radio news, as well as articles that have appeared in The Sacramento Bee.
The three completed homes are now being offered by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency at $95,000 to qualifying first-time buyers.