The 916 Project—A Great Sign

In March, Jay Lewis, Lewis Electrical Contracting & Consulting Services Inc., mentored multiple youth in the Independent School District 916’s Construction program.

Every year students in this program build a home from foundation to roof. This program is very much a community effort and the result is a home that is sold on the open market.

The City of North St. Paul provides the lot that the home sits on every year. This year’s home sits on a lot of a former blighted property that bothered neighbors to the extent that legislators were called about it and a squad car often monitored it. The problem property was torn down and a new 2500-square-foot home is being built in its place. This is the smallest home 916 has constructed, but the home needed to be scaled to fit the lot.

The students that cycle through the home throughout the day hail from 14 different school districts. Seventy percent of them have specialized IEPs.  Of the 54 students, 15 have identified electrical as their trade of choice. Many have secured spots in electrical technical school programs.

The 916 Construction program could easily double to meet the needs of interested students; however, staff and one house site limit it to its current levels. The home will be sold this summer, and 916 will start a new property next fall.

If your community has a similar construction program, please let me know. The Electrical Association understands the workforce shortages within the electrical industry and the Association looks to provide additional support to these programs to help deliver members a skilled workforce.

The students are well on their way to successfully building a home!

This is a great sign of what’s coming up the job pipeline!