Thirteen students graduated from the carpentry program at Orleans Technical College, the culmination of which was a fully built house complete with a rooftop deck.
Students enrolled in the carpentry program will demolish the previous class’s work and start building a new one from scratch. This enables them to see every step of the process. Many students, who before the class have never held a tool, feel a sense of accomplishment at what they created.
“Through the demolition, they were able to learn how things were put together as they took them apart,” Tamika Gary, employment specialist in the career center at Orleans Tech, said.
Orleans Technical College has programs such as carpentry, electricity, building maintenance, HVAC and plumbing. Orleans Tech is run by JEVS Human Services, an organization that enhances employability through a broad range of programs, according to a press release.
Jay Spector, president and CEO of JEVS, said that enrollment at Orleans Tech is up due to marketplace demand.
“It gives our students a lot of options, whether they’re going to work for a small company or go out on their own,” Spector said. “Our longstanding relationship with the community opens doors for them to go to work.”
Gary added that the demand for jobs in the trades is high right now. “With so many people aging out and retiring, there’s a demand for skilled trade workers,” Gary said.
Gary creatively decorates each house that the students build so they can see what it looks like finished.
Students who complete the carpentry program all graduate with their OSHA 10, which Gary said you need to work in the trades. OSHA 10 is a certification about workplace safety.
Sabrina Brinkley was one of the new graduates of the carpentry class. Brinkley, recently nominated for student of the month, also graduated from Orleans’ building maintenance program. She wanted to return for carpentry because instead of fixing houses, she wants to build them.
“I did building maintenance first to get a feel of everything, to know if carpentry was right for me,” Brinkley said. “You do everything from plumbing to electric, so you get a feel of everything, so I was able to see what trade I wanted to take.”
“I like to build things from new; that’s what really excited me about it,” Brinkley continued.
Brinkley is a graduate of Frankford High School, and she is in the final stages of adopting her two sisters.
She has already secured employment with Meizinger Construction Services. She is one of four graduates hired from Orleans Tech’s carpentry program by Meizinger Construction Services. Her long-term goal is to own her own business, building houses and move her business to Georgia.
Brinkley highly recommends the program to all people, women included. “Don’t let the trade intimidate you,” Brinkley said. “Anybody can do it, and it’s not that hard.” ••