Bringing Construction into the Classroom

January 3, 2019

Bringing Construction into the Classroom

It’s back to school time and San Antonio students are putting on tool belts and picking up hammers!

San Antonio is now one of the fastest-growing cities in America! It is a great time for young people to enter the construction industry and Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio wants to ensure that students are prepared to fulfill this industry need when they graduate.

For 255 San Antonio student volunteers, classroom tools of choice became hammers, tape measures and nails as they explore the booming construction industry while in high school! For the past 6 years, Habitat construction staff has teamed up with 10 local high school shop teachers and their students to build walls and sheds for Habitat families’ houses.

MacArthur Electrical Systems Technology students to help wire new homes for San Antonio families.

Learning to Build Homes in the Heart of San Antonio

Through Habitat’s In-School Future Builders Program, Habitat provides the build plan and lumber and school instructors work with students to build walls for 3 and 4 bedroom homes. Students learn to read Habitat’s build plans, follow construction safety standards and work with measurements for the affordable house, tools and materials to successfully execute a residential construction project. These student-built walls shelter low-income San Antonio families each year who are in need of a safe and secure home. 

This year, Habitat has teamed up with Marathon Petroleum to make this program possible. Marathon strives to invest in both STEM- and vocational education-related initiatives that prepare students for professional and academic success. A grant from Marathon helps support the cost of lumber and building supplies so students can go beyond the books and experience hands-on learning through Habitat’s real-life residential building projects.

“It has not only opened their eyes to career possibilities after high school, it has broadened their vision of the community service impacts of their labor and participation.”

Learning Lifelong Lessons

Students not only learn valuable construction skills and safety, but also teamwork, leadership, and the importance of helping others in the community. Students are introduced to a real problem in San Antonio – the lack of safe, affordable housing for low-income families. One shop teacher shared the positive impact of this program on his students, “It has not only opened their eyes to career possibilities after high school, it has broadened their vision of the community service impacts of their labor and participation.” Many of the students in this program volunteer their time outside of class to build more houses alongside future Habitat homeowners. Habitat’s In-school Future Builders serves students ages 14 – 19 from districts across San Antonio, including Harlandale, Edgewood, Northside, Northeast and Southside ISDs.

To get your students involved in #BuildforBetter with Habitat or to sponsor an upcoming Habitat youth program, call 210-223-5203.

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