Students building their future

Courtesy photos: Above, Brookings High School students enrolled in a residential construction class are shown shingling a roof on a house that will be auctioned off later this year. Below, the floor plan of the house that will be auctioned off later this year.

BROOKINGS – Brookings High School students in the Architecture and Construction career cluster are building their futures. The students enrolled in Residential Construction and Cabinetry classes participate in on-the-job training every day during class learning skills to help close the ever-widening gap between the trades and the necessary workforce to keep this industry strong.  

Cabinetry students learn how to use power and hand tools as they create projects ranging from gun cabinets and dressers to tables and decorative boxes. These skills can lead them into careers in cabinet making, furniture construction, or even small business endeavors. 

Residential construction students build a home from the ground up – from laying a floor to finishing work. They get hands-on experience in concrete work, framing, drywall, siding, shingling, trimming, and installing windows and doors.  

With the help of area sub-contractors Knapp Electric and Brookings Plumbing and Heating, they learn to run electrical wire and install plumbing.  The lead local business partner on the project is Builder’s First Source. General Manager Todd Magstadt works closely with the class, designing the home and providing materials as needed.  Last year’s home set a record when it was auctioned off for $105,000.  

Grace Mork and Reagan Weisbeck are two seniors learning new skills in the construction area as members of the Residential Construction class. They demonstrate strong leadership ability and a positive work ethic while working with their class on finishing the house.  

“The class teaches us about hard work, team communication, and the general knowledge of how to construct a home,” the students said. 

The house is set to be auctioned off in late May.

“The need for skilled workers in the housing industry is huge. Classes like these give kids a chance to see how many careers there are connected to construction,” class instructor Kale Skogen said. 

Skogen has 14 years of experience in home building and is in his fourth year as an educator.  

The South Dakota Home Builders Association is a statewide nonprofit trade association made up of professional builders, remodelers and associate members that promotes home ownership and quality, affordable housing.  They are actively working to promote careers in construction.  

The Brookings Regional Builders Association (BRBA) is offering three scholarships valued at $500 each to students who enroll in a construction related field. These scholarships are available to high school seniors or anyone currently enrolled in a construction program, whether they choose to attend a technical school or a four-year university.

Additionally, the Lynn Mennis Memorial Scholarship will award a $1,500 scholarship to one recipient.

Anyone interested in applying for these scholarships should contact the Brookings Regional Builders Association at 692-5405.

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