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    Seattle Skills Center Students Build Tiny Home for the Homeless
    Posted on 06/19/2019
    Two students work together in a classroom shop

    Seattle Skills Center Students Build Tiny Home for the Homeless

    Students enrolled in the Aerospace Science and Technology: Advanced Manufacturing class at Rainier Beach High School are in the final stages of completing a tiny trailer home that will be used by some of Seattle’s homeless population. The class is a Seattle Skills Center course and students earn Career and Technical Education (CTE) credits toward graduation.

    The students and Gerald St. John, a Seattle Public Schools CTE teacher, are excited to complete the trailer and present it to those that need it most. The tiny home is equipped with a small furnace and can also be hooked up to a bike to be easily moved. The tiny home is one of many projects St. John and his students build throughout the year.

    The Seattle Skills Center is a free program in Seattle Public Schools that prepares students for college, careers, and life. Students in classes like this one can earn industry recognized certification, cross credits, and college credit. Students from any high school in the district can attend a Skills Center class, regardless of location. Transportation is provided during school year courses.

    The tiny home endeavor began when St. John, other instructors, and students noticed that there were large scraps of metal available after fully completing airplane parts projects. St. John discussed the possibility of using the metals instead of letting them go to waste, and the students were on board with the idea of building a tiny home from scratch.

    “We have a bunch of this metal around. Why not use them for good?” said Junathaen, senior at Rainier Beach High School, who is in his second year of the course.

    As part of the course, students learned to draw blueprints which guide them throughout the building process to ensure that they are following the right measurements, attaching components properly, and laying down a strong foundation. Even before they start building, students plan out their construction projects by thoroughly mapping each step.

    Students often find that the whole process involves many activities including cutting, metal work, drilling, and modifying different pieces using manufacturing equipment under the guidance of St. John.

    For Norman, senior at Rainier Beach High School, the shop is where he thrives and enjoys learning. “I love welding. People say it’s hard, but I’ve practiced it, and I’ve become good at it,” said Norman.

    He is looking forward to joining the workforce after graduation and decided to enroll in the Seattle Skills Center because the program offers the opportunity to learn the hard and soft skills valued by employers in the aerospace industry. Students can also transition into a 2- or 4-year college program in the aerospace sciences at schools like South Seattle College, which is an option for students wishing to access free tuition via the City’s Seattle Promise initiative.

    St. John says that there’s more involved in the educational component beyond the hands-on learning. “We walk them through different interview scenarios, especially for some of the companies that are well-known in our region. We help students with their resumes and supplement their learning with professional skills development to succeed in the work force.”

    Collaboration with local education partners like the Manufacturing Industrial Council (the MIC) and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) provide students opportunities to practice speaking with possible employers. Employers know that when the Skills Center uses the curriculum of Core Plus and AJAC, students will be ready to get right to work for them, and the college programs can help students pick up where they left off in high school with their advanced manufacturing skills.

    The Seattle Skills Center offers a wide range of classes during the school year and in the summer. Talk with your school counselor and apply online on the Skills Center school website.