GREAT FALLS — Twenty-six students from Great Falls High School and CMR High School signed on to the High School House Pre-Apprenticeship Program on Thursday.
The program is offered through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry and designed to teach students skills in construction that meet industry standards.
Student apprentices are currently working on the 43rd "High School House" that is set to be completed by the end of the year. At the completion of the build, each student will have earned 360 on-the- job hours to show to employers.
“Just seeing all the progress we have made and how we can go from a patch of dirt in a neighborhood to a full house hopefully by the end of the year it’s really cool to see,” said student Sam Collins.
Collins may not aspire to have a job in construction at this point, but he does believe the program is beneficial to anyone: “Coming out here and learning a valuable skill that I can use in the future in my life. I’m not planning on going into construction, but just understanding the fundamentals of how everything is put together is really useful.”
Instructor Pete Pace has been teaching students for ten years and hopes the program continues long after him: “Not only do they help out their community by building affordable housing - they learn a skill and you really see that from the start to the finish of the year. They start out without a whole lot of skill and then by the end of the year they’re ready and prepared to go right into the construction field. That’s the most rewarding part is seeing the growth in the students."
Student Colton DeVoss says working on the house will be a lasting experience: “It makes me feel good knowing that some low-income family will have a nice home to live in. It will be nice if I have a kid someday to drive by the house and say, 'Yeah, I built that'.”
The homes built through High School House program are put on the affordable housing market.