The Duneland School
Board recognized the Building Trades and Interior/Exterior Design programs
at CHS for the completion of their first home.
Tom Garzella, Renae
Micchia, and Tom Moody were each recognized for their work helming the
building, interior/exterior design work and architectural work,
respectively. Garzella and Micchia were present at the meeting last night
and gave a presentation about the program’s progress.
Garzella noted that
the program, now in its third year, has achieved 100 percent job-placement
for students. Juniors in the program were placed in summer internships and
seniors in jobs or apprenticeships.
that community partnerships have been most beneficial to the program.
“There’s actually 64 people involved outside of the students,” he said. The
partnerships--22 new this year--allow students completing the program to
bypass a year of apprenticeship at some local unions, and networking
opportunities have helped achieve the job-placement rate.
Garzella says part of the five-year outlook for the program is to develop a
summer program, develop a business plan for the program to self-support, and
secure donated lots. The house the students in the program just completed
has been moved to a lot in Michigan City and secured to the foundation.
Garzella noted that Deep South Rigging has been a valuable partner to the
program, and, in an interesting turn of events, the Deep South Rigging crane
operator who helped move the house is a CHS graduate.
The Board inquired
about the possible donation of lots and Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) training. Garzella replied that the government of
Michigan City may be interested in donating ten lots to the program if the
students can produce another home by the end of the school year, which is
Garzella’s plan. In terms of OSHA, students receive 10 hours of training
right away and build upon that each week for a total of 30 hours. They also
receive instruction on material and chemical management.
Micchia said, “I’m
so glad we’re able to offer this to our students.” Her 30 design students
gained valuable insight on the entire building process as they made site
visits to the in-progress house and worked in groups of five to develop
possible designs for the inside and outside of the house. Three of their
designs were submitted to program partner Housing Opportunities, who will
make the final choice. “They actually get an opportunity to create a house
that someone’s going to live in. That is priceless,” she said. “They took so
much ownership of that and were so proud of themselves.”