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VINELAND, NJ:  The construction industry faces a shortage of workers, but programs and people across the country are working at the local level to solve the problem including here in Vineland.  Recently, the first group of students from the new Vineland High School CTE Construction Trades I program were invited for a field trip walk-through at the Newcomb Senior Apartments project job site by Developer Hans Lampart, who was also instrumental in getting the new program started.

As part of the course, students are introduced to the terms and techniques needed to prepare them for a career in construction, covering fundamentals such as basic safety, trade math and measurement, an introduction to tools and materials in residential construction, and employability skills.  This course, which is overseen by instructor Frank Medio, is a prerequisite for all construction technologies courses.

As the 9th-grade students toured the site, they also got some insight into the building process. “There are many different steps to the building process, whether it’s remodeling a home or constructing a project of this magnitude, the basic steps and functions involved are the same,” Lampart said. “The project starts with engineers, architects, and designers before the trades come in to make it happen.”

“It would be beneficial if field trips to job sites in the area could be a regular part of the course,” Lampart continued.  “Once the students see the work up close, they can get a better idea of what a career in the trades might be like.  Sparking their interest early allows students to explore related coursework and determine their career goals, benefiting both students and the industry as a whole.”

The idea for the course began three years ago when a group of community stakeholders came together, including Eastern Pacific Development President Hans Lampart and Vineland School Board Member Nick Fiocchi, who felt there should be more emphasis on the trades in high school.  The group worked with the Builders League of South Jersey and the National Home Builders Association, who then brought the Home Builders Institute (HBI) on board. The Institute provided a curriculum, as well as a grant to pay for the curriculum from Home Depot.

HBI is a national leader for career training in the building industry helping students learn the skills and gather the experience they need for successful careers.  HBI training programs do more than just provide job skills; they also build character and self-esteem, helping to provide students with the skills they need to succeed on the job and in life.

“We know there is a need to train the next generation of individuals to fill good jobs in the construction trades,” Nick Fiocchi said.  “I believe the program is truly a win for the school district, Vineland High School students, the industry, and the community.”

“The curriculum is very hands-on and offers a pathway for industry certifications that are really going to guide these students from high school into valuable, post-secondary opportunities in the trades,” said instructor Frank Medio. “We truly appreciate the leadership and partnership of The Home Depot Foundation and the Home Builders Institute in making this possible.”

“It’s not just important. It’s imperative, as the baby boomers are retiring out and technology progresses, we need to get these young people interested in the industry.  “I think what the students might find is that construction does not look like it did when I was getting started.  There are high-tech elements like virtual reality and building information modeling, or other pathways in marketing and communications.  It’s not just a hard hat and a hammer, there are many other parts of construction beyond the skilled trades,” Lampart concluded.