28th Career + Tech student-built home is completed

28th Career + Tech student-built home is completed
Posted on 06/16/2022

Students, staff, and community members gathered in North St. Paul to tour the newly finished student-built home. Students in the construction occupations program at the 916 Career and Technical Center were excited to showcase their hard work in partnership with the city of North St. Paul (who owns/provides resources for the home build), St. Paul College (whose cabinetmaking students build and install the cabinets), and Century College (whose interior design students are responsible for many aspects of the cabinet design, color palette, flooring, hardware, etc).

The Career and Technical Center students have been revitalizing the city of North St. Paul by building affordable, modern, and high-quality housing. The program is the only one in the state where students get real-world experience constructing a full-sized house on site; students spend only 10 percent of their time in a traditional classroom.

“Students get a well-rounded education in this program, building skills in electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, drywall, flooring, and landscaping,” said Tom Spehn, who teaches the course.

Over the last 25 years, 1150 students from 16 high schools have been a part of the program. Students practice teamwork, build their resumes and make important professional connections with the tradespeople they encounter on the job.

Some students find related employment after leaving the program, others pursue a four-year degree in Construction Management and others may leave the field. The construction industry faces a skilled-labor shortage and is eager to partner with the school district to fill that need. Since the program started in 1999, hundreds of students have contributed to building 28 homes.

Industry partners include Anderson Concrete Forming, Inc., ABC Millwork, CSO Architects, Cardinal, Contract Interiors, E.G. Rud & Sons, Inc., Electrical Association, Ferguson, Housing First Minnesota Foundation, Harkraft, Kraus-Anderson, Lewis Electrical, Lyman Lumber, Muska Lighting, North Country Garage Door, LLC., Plaza TV & Appliance, Inc., Pratt Homes, PRO Drywall & Painting, Inc., Quality Insulation, R&S HVAC, TBG, and Timber Ghost Realty.