Greeted by the sounds of sawing, hammering and drilling as they entered the construction class at Timberland High School, Nancy Jenkins, David Dodds, John Lindsay and Narissia Skinner went to THS to talk to students about the “real world” and what to expect when they graduate in May.
Typically students from THS go straight from high school to working in the construction industry so it is very important for them to be able to read a blueprint. Jenkins, architect, not only reads blueprints, but can also draw them. She gave an overview of the various acronyms, abbreviations and legends used as well as the measurement systems used for different types of drawings. After the presentation, Jenkins and Dodds, construction division chief, worked with students individually on reading plans and what to look for.
Dodds talked to the students about putting their best effort and quality into each of their projects, because if they do a good job the word will spread and they will be hired by other companies. But to counter that, if they do a poor job, word will spread and they will lose work or money if they make a mistake. He went over ways to avoid making costly mistakes like using the correct measurements and applying geometry to projects.
“I can’t re-iterate enough; do thorough measuring, provide quality work and maintain a good attitude and you will be repeatedly hired,” said Dodds. “When word gets out that there is an outstanding new plumber, mason or carpenter, everyone wants to hire them and you want to be that guy.”
Safety is the District’s number one priority and Lindsay, safety and health officer, advised the students that it should be theirs too. Lindsay showed videos and pictures of accidents on construction sites, most of which were met with grimaces and gasps. He also showed the proper safety equipment that should be worn at all times on a construction site as well as unsafe practices to look for at a construction site.
All of these are things to keep in mind while working, but before any of this can happen, a job interview and offer needs to occur. Skinner, executive assistant to the commander, gave an overview of what students should wear to interviews and how to dress and act professionally. She also warned the students not to show up to interviews with visible tattoos, piercings or wrinkled clothing. She ended the day by having each student come up to her, shake her hand and greet her, just like they would to someone who was going to interview them. And if they didn’t do it to her liking, she made them re-do it, ensuring that they had it perfected.
Students from THS also visited the District’s St. Stephen Powerhouse later that month. The class toured the visitor’s center, which was almost complete with its renovation. They then visited the onsite fish hatchery, operated by the Department of Natural Resources. DNR specialists showed the students the entire process, from breeding to release, and explained how the fish are raised at the hatchery. Students looked at all of the special equipment that is used throughout the process to ensure that the millions of fish that are hatched are raised properly until they can be released in the canal.