“Building homes. Building hope.”
At a north Hamilton construction site, seven students from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board are working with a group of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity to build homes and hope, as well as experience and skills in a co-operative education placement that is readying them for a future career in the construction trades.
The students – from Cathedral, St. Thomas More, Bishop Ryan and Cardinal Newman – are part of a Home Building Co-op/OYAP program offered in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton that provides them with on-the-job work experience while building homes for families in need.
Under the direction of Teacher Pat Piro, students are working with volunteers and skilled tradesmen to construct three townhouses for Habitat for Humanity at 110 Burton Street between Wentworth and Victoria, just north of the tracks.
“They began work on this project last year when there was just a hole in the ground for the pouring of the foundation,” says Piro.
Now, several months later, framing on the townhouses has been completed, the windows have been installed, and the electrical work and plumbing are underway.
For the co-op students – many of which are in all day co-op – the placement provides “valuable trade experience while building quality, long lasting family homes for our community.”
The placement also provides the students with up to four construction/co-op credits that can be used toward an OSSGD (Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma) and a SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) designation in Construction.
It’s a great way to “test drive” a career in the construction trades, says Piro.
“Students get to meet and work with different tradespeople and learn from their expertise,” he adds.
The job site also features a faith board with the message “Love serves” as a visual reminder of their commitment to do good in the tradition of Jesus and his father Joseph, the master carpenters.