Students learn while building homes

KAYSVILLE—What was a practical learning experience for students from Davis Technical College and Davis School District, resulted in two local families getting new homes.

Over the past school year, students used their skills in plumbing, electrical and other trades to construct two homes, one in Layton and the second in Syracuse. Open houses were held at both homes recently.

Through a cooperative effort between Educationally Constructed Housing Opportunities (ECHO), Utah Housing Corporation, Davis Tech and the school district, the program assists students to apply classroom instruction to real-life situations while providing homes for those families who need them. More than $10,000 in material donations from Speirs Plumbing, Uponor, Mountainland Supply and Mullen Faucets made it possible.

“The construction trades are so important to our economy,” Jared Taylor, vice president of Speirs Plumbing, who has been involved with the program since 2002 when he was a student himself, said in a statement. “We need workers, so we want these educational programs to continue. And when industry gets involved, we can put our money where our mouths are.”

Students are trained to build homes through the ECHO program by being hired as the supervised workforce, the release said. They earn school credit while receiving hands-on training in construction trades. The homes are sold to a household earning 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.

“The ECHO program allows the students to have a sense of purpose, community and civic involvement,” Grant Whitaker, CEO of Utah Housing Corporation said in the statement. “This is something that, for years to come, the students can point to and say, ‘I helped to build that.’ The sense of accomplishment for oneself, the pride of a job well done and the skills learned during the hands-on construction process are invaluable to them as they become productive members of society.”

Davis Tech Plumbing Apprentice program instructor Bryce Chapman agrees. “This is a great partnership with Utah Housing Corporation,” he said in the release. “We’ve been working with them for over 10 years now. Not only do our students learn valuable skills, but a family receives their first home.”


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