‘I want this as my career:’ Huffman High School creating next generation of carpenters

Published: Jan. 14, 2023 at 10:43 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The United States is experiencing an ongoing shortage of construction workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Carpentry is one of the hardest hit trades.

With plenty of jobs and not enough people to fill them, one local school is trying to recruit for the workforce.

The Academy of Architecture and Construction at Huffman High School says they are preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s world. Students not only learn about the world of building and design, they actually build and design.

“There is a shortage of carpentry-skilled trades,” said Huffman High construction teacher Jacques Dean. “But they’re learning it here.”

“There’s a need because a lot of our Baby Boomers are retiring,” said CTE Department Head Terence Marzette. “So we need to go ahead and get prepared for the next generation coming up.”

The program prepares students to enter the trade workforce after school.

“I want this as my career,” said Junior Hernandez, a junior. “As we’re building all this stuff, we can actually tell that we might love it in the future so we might get into the career force.”

“I like working with my hands,” said Maurice Teron, a senior. “So this elective really spoke to me when it talked about building houses.”

They actually build tiny houses. The program is working on it’s third tiny home this semester.

“They’re getting exposed to framing, the siding, a little bit of electrical, a little bit of plumbing,” said Dean. “They’re doing roofing. They’re doing flooring, interior work. So they’re exposed to it all.”

“They can obtain their professional certification at Huffman High School which is unheard of right now,” said Marzette.

Between the two teachers, 200-250 students come through the program each semester. Marzette says there is a ton of interest in this program since it’s so rare. They even have a waiting list to get into the class.

“Very interesting being able to see a lot of things come together and to be able to be apart of that,” said Jordan Thomas, a junior.

It’s all to bring up the next generation of tradesmen and women.

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