Ep.45: The Strength of a Technical Education with Paul Lewandowski
Technical education at the high school level seems to be fading, but it’s growing at the college level. There are more programs turning out skilled workers that can start producing for home remodeling and construction companies on Day One.
In this episode, Paul Lewandowski of Fox Valley Technical College talks to Tim and Steve about the benefits of a technical education for students and their employers.
Paul has taught residential building construction at FVTC in Oshkosh, WI, for 18 years. The program started in the late 1990s, when members of the local home builders association and the local NARI chapter approached the college hoping to start a program to train carpenters primarily for the residential market.
Every year, students build a nearly custom 2,000-sq.-ft. house for the college’s foundation, which is sold at market-rate to fund future home-building projects and scholarships. The scholarships can be used by students throughout the college, not just the building students.
Paul talks about the program, what his students learn — and how. Half of their time is spent in the shop at the school, the other half building the house. He discusses how you can take steps to get organized and help build trade programs at schools near you, as well as:
- Where FVTC finds students
- How he teaches quality carpentry
- The paper test for trimwork
- The tools required of students
- Where they get jobs after graduation
- What remodelers can expect from the students
- Getting more women into the programs and industry
- Finding trade colleges near you
- Dealing with unions
- And more…
The best thing you can do to solve your labor shortage and promote the industry as a great place to work is to get involved and be persistent at the local level.
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