The Construction Technology program at Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) brings together different parts of the community for mutual benefit.
Indian Hills construction students work with Chariton Regional House Trust Fund to build new homes in the region — usually replacing ones that had been condemned.
“Our neighbors are excited, the city is grateful, the county likes it, and it benefits the students in the program,” Jon Dorman, construction technology instructor explains. “It really is a win across the board!”
The process takes about nine months, ending in the summer while breaking ground on the next home to be built. The entire process, besides razing condemned homes, includes the students. They get hands-on experience pouring concrete, framing, wiring, plumbing, and more.
“I think the most unique thing about our program is the student involvement in design and construction of the home as well as the amount of actual hands-on time they have at the job site,” Dorman says. “We just don’t study and discuss how to build; we actually do the work as well!”
In addition to the valuable skills this program offers college students, the program also works with area high schoolers.
“IHCC offers a Construction Academy, where high school students come and work at my job site to earn college credit at no cost to them,” Dorman says.
Oskaloosa High School offers its own construction program and has partnered with IHCC along with other colleges, companies, and contractors over the years.
“It's a great way to apply knowledge in a real-world setting,” says David Bower, construction trades teacher at Oskaloosa High School.
Since its start in 2003, the program and its students have been a part of constructing 17 single-family homes in Oskaloosa.
“The homes we build help fulfill a housing need,” Bower explains. “I enjoy seeing the completed houses we build become homes for the people of the community.”
In addition, the program gives students hands-on experience and a peek at potential career paths.
“Construction Trades gives the students opportunities to learn about multiple trades to best decide which one they are most interested in,” Bower says.
The same applies to Dorman’s college students who are working towards a diploma or Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S).
“We give students a good working knowledge of construction which in turn makes them more employable,” Dorman says. “I stay in contact with all my students after they complete their education with my program, and to see them be successful is probably the most rewarding part.”
That and, of course, building up the community.