John E. King, Carpentry Coordinator and Associate Professor
Maysville Community and Technical College
Building houses that actually sell in todays market is probably not something that comes to mind when you think of the stereotypical college experience. However, this is exactly how the students in the Construction Technology program at Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) spend their time. Im John King and I coordinate MCTCs Construction Technology program on the Rowan Campus. During the 11 years I have been with MCTC, I have had the chance help students do more than just learn the skills they will need in the construction industry. All of our classes are hands on and give students a chance to master each skill.
Some people may look at our economy and assume that a career in construction would be a bad choice. My experiences while working in the construction industry for over 20 years has shown me that the opposite is true. There will always be construction work that needs to be done. Whether it is building a new home, installing a new roof, creating sidewalks and driveways, or installing new siding, there will always be jobs out there. Even the current housing market has not stopped this industry. A lot of people are choosing to remodel or upgrade an existing home over building a new one. As long as there are buildings, then repairs and upgrades will be needed.
Our Construction Technology program is set up to begin with teaching the basics of using hand tools and power tools. Students also learn how to build and climb on scaffolds properly following all safety precautions. Our codes and safety class covers OSHA regulations and requirements. Many of our students have already taken a shop class, but it never hurts to take a refresher course. We include a blue print class in addition to a site layout and foundations class. This involves learning how to set up the right instruments and find the elevations needed for a residential home. Our forms class shows students how to properly set concrete and material forms. Our program also focuses on roof framing and ceiling construction, laying out and installing cabinets, and constructing interior and exterior trim.
According to MCTC Construction Technology student and Lewis County native, Jonathan Abrams, Being in this program has been really helpful to me. Ive learned lot from John that I can actually use on a job. Jonathan has been taking classes in this program since August 2010.
Our students actually use these skills in the houses our program builds. I work with each student to make sure that they know how to build a home that people will choose to buy. Each home we build is marketed and sold just like any newly constructed home in our community. The proceeds from each home sale are used to purchase another lot through our programs building association and give future students a chance to take part in a real job. To date, our students have built and sold two homes, and are currently completing a third in the Lakes at Hickory Point subdivision in Morehead. Almost half of our students are non-traditional, which means they are not in the typical college age group.
Lewis McCraw, a student from the Olive Hill area, points out the certifications he has received. In addition to everything else, I have learned how to use both a Bob Cat and a Sky Cat in this program, and I have a license for both. Lewis has also been taking classes in this program for a year.
Our program has purchased a Bob Cat as well as different types of forklifts. All of our students are certified on each piece of equipment. The Construction Technology program here at MCTC does offer seven certificates that typically require less than 30 credit hours each. For example, a student can complete a certificate to become a site layout assistant or a residential carpenter. If a student just wants to learn a specific skill, then they can complete a certificate in that area. Students who complete the full two year program and receive an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree usually start out making between $12 and $16 an hour working under a contractor. If a graduate wants to contract their own business, then their income potential can go up. Our AAS degree will also transfer to a 4-year university.
Former student, Peyton Loudermilk, of West Liberty credits MCTCs Construction Technology program with helping him build his career. Ive stayed busy with jobs. This program has helped a whole lot. Being out in the fields hands on and building a house as a student was the best part. I actually know how to do each job. John taught us how to work in the construction field rather than just showing us.If you are interested in this program and would like more information, stop by and visit me at MCTCs Rowan campus, or call me at 606-783-1538 extension 66332. You can also send me an email.