Building Futures Committee empowers the next generation
A dynamic new committee of the Colorado Chapter of ICC is focused on a critical mission: empowering the next generation of code officials and construction professionals. The Building Futures Committee, led by members Dan Reardon, Don Marchbanks, Jessica Arvanties and Hope Medina, is dedicated to providing education about building construction, the International Codes and building safety.
Thanks to the committee’s efforts, the chapter was recently invited to participate in Colorado Construction Career Days, an annual event where high school students interact with contractors, engineers, architects and others in the construction field.
Don Marchbanks, a combination inspector with Routt County, Colo., shares his experience of the event:
My first time participating in Colorado Career Days proved to be a great experience. This event connects high school students with contractors, trade-associated businesses and utility companies, giving them hands-on experience with many different trades. Students learned techniques for getting jobs done correctly in a safe and timely manner. With numerous vendors on hand, students were able to interact with professionals in carpentry, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and also experience the architectural side of things. They saw how everything comes together on a computer before it becomes reality.
Cameras used for locating problems in sewer systems (without even getting dirty) showed the students one of the many uses of technology in maintaining infrastructure. They even operated a backhoe moving dirt to experience what happens after we discover an obstruction in a line. The look of interest in the students’ eyes only intensified as we moved from station to station — they were captivated by the experience.
My experience was extremely rewarding. I could tell by the students’ attentiveness and thoughtful questions that the experience was rewarding for them as well. At the end of the day, we parted ways with a handshake and a thank you. The gratitude offered from each student showed me that the generosity of the participating vendors and time dedicated by all was well worth the effort. Colorado Career Days is an investment in not only their future, but ours as well. I plan to be here next year; I can’t wait to see the enlightened faces of many more young participants in years to come.
People of all ages are eager to learn, share their knowledge and experiences, and grow together. I am proud to be part the excitement, and I will tell you that sitting with recent graduates of these cutting-edge programs and having common goals of excellence in the industry is exciting.
Among its many initiatives, the committee is preparing to introduce several high schools to the Code Council’s High School Technical Training Program (HSTTP). Hope Medina recruited Pueblo Centennial High School for the program. As committee members visit prospective schools, they will provide training materials and discuss implementing an adaptable code curriculum. This exemplifies the Colorado chapter’s commitment to the next generation.
The committee is planning an event at the Code Council’s 2019 Chapter Leadership Academy in Denver. Local high school staff and administrators will learn about the HSTTP, the Building Futures Committee, and discuss working together to provide career opportunities in the building safety industry.
The committee financially supported a new construction school program in Pagosa Springs. Many local construction companies donated tools for the program, so the students can become familiar with the tools of the trades.
The committee also supports a local high school participating in the Technology Student Association national competition for architecture. The school’s tiny house entry, which was required to comply with the International Residential Code and achieve LEED certification, advanced to participate in the regional competition after taking first-place honors at this year’s local contest.
The Code Council’s High School Technical Training Program and College Technical Training Program enhance High School and College vocational curricula using the IRC and IRC Study Companion. The programs demonstrate hands-on construction techniques and help to prepare a code-knowledgeable workforce that is ready to enter the profession directly out of school. With code training, students will have an advantage for advancement in their career. Certificates of completion are issued to students, recognizing them as building code specialists.