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The House that Students Built

Students gain marketable career skills while creating affordable housing in the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. Students enrolled in the construction pathway at Beloit Memorial High School have the unique opportunity to build a home. Upon construction completion, homes are placed on the market and profits are used to help continue the program.

The Student House Build Program began about four years ago thanks to a generous donation from Corporate Contractors Inc. Since that time, the program has been a fixture in the career and technical education department at Beloit Memorial High School. It is an excellent example of collaboration and partnership between a school and its business community.

The program’s value is in the direct experience students receive in a variety of different skilled trade pathways. Students are exposed to engineering and design, construction management, plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. Benefits to the community are many; including, training a workforce ready to fill skilled trade shortages that exist in many areas across the nation and creating affordable inventory for the local real estate market. The goal is to make sure every student is college and career ready beyond high school. This program does just that.

Under the direction of Beloit Memorial construction teacher, Scott Abbott, this program is the culmination of the construction technical education program. Juniors and seniors who have completed the construction course sequence are eligible to participate in the full year Student House Build Program.  “We are training the next generation for entry into the skilled labor force,” said Abbott. There are approximately ten students in the program this year. Students begin with job site safety instruction in the high school and then move on to the floor system, framing, roofing, siding, electrical and plumbing.

Of course, the house must meet all Wisconsin building codes. Therefore, the program partners with a number of sub-contractors in the Beloit area. Many of which provide mentoring for the students, financial support for the program through time, materials and monetary donations, and general assistance with the program. Subcontractors, in partnership with Abbott, help ensure that the home meets all building codes and will be ready for the market at the end of the school year.

House built by students.  This year’s house build project is nestled in the northwest corner of Beloit at 2261 Trevino Court. It is a 1450 square foot ranch home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The house has the possibility of two additional bedrooms and a full bathroom in the basement. It is currently estimated that the home will sell at approximately $155,000.

The Department of Labor projects that the United States will have approximately 5 million job openings in the skilled trades in the next 10 – 15 years. Abbott is a strong advocate for the futures of his students, “Our economy needs skilled trades people and our program is great training ground to launch students into a viable job market where they can make a great living wage.”