Sebring students build skills for future

SEBRING — Seven seniors at Sebring McKinley High School are set to graduate this year with industry credentials through the district’s new carpentry curriculum.

The students are completing the second of two carpentry courses available at Sebring McKinley. As the students complete the program, they earn industry-recognized credentials, giving students a head start if they wish to pursue an apprenticeship program upon graduation.

Last year, Sebring Local Schools implemented the Building Trades Pre-apprenticeship program with the support of the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio and the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western PA and the Ohio Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program.

Sebring’s juniors and seniors in the classes learn the fundamentals of carpentry — from reading plans and the proper way in which to read a tape measure, to making cut lists and handling tools. They begin applying concepts and practicing these skills immediately, building small projects including birdhouses and toolboxes in their first year, and taking on more complex projects such as work benches and picnic tables in their second year.

Brad Kirkland, Sebring’s carpentry teacher, said he notices the surge of confidence students gain as they master the skills needed for their projects. Many students have taken the knowledge and skills they have learned with them to projects outside the classroom; one student helped install floors in a friend’s house last summer, and another is working with her grandfather to build a balloon arch for her graduation party.

The program curriculum goes beyond the basics of carpentry, teaching math for trades and offering resources to support student career exploration. One of the senior students is planning to continue into the apprenticeship program, but all students are leaving with valuable knowledge and skills. The others plan to apply the talents and proficiency gained in this program to careers in other fields or to complete projects in their own homes in the future.

The second-year carpentry students were recently commissioned to construct picnic tables for Canaan Acres. As the students finish out their year, they will take on additional picnic table projects.

Kirkland notes the support of the community in the implementation of the program, from Carter Lumber in Alliance providing donations of materials last year as the program got underway, to those commissioning picnic tables this spring.


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