Builders group seeks work places for building school summer program


Special to The SUN

The Pagosa Area Builders Advisory Committee (PABAC) was originally established to provide advice and assistance to the Archuleta County Building Department and the Town of Pagosa Springs Building Department to support the local building industry with education and economic development.

The Archuleta School District (ASD) and PABAC are organizing summer work-based placements for the existing building school students, reviewing vocational school courses to start September 2018 and considering expanding its vo-tech facilities to offer advance building school programs and carpentry woodshop courses on top of its existing offering.

Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS) initiated a building trades class this past school year, intended to teach students the basics of the building trades industry and provide them with the skills necessary to become eligible for summer and full-time employment with local contractors.

At present, 32 students are enrolled in courses that teach about safety on the job site, proper use of various tools, information about building codes, best practices for cost estimating and other essential aspects of the building trade industry.

“Teaching our young adults how to become successful in the building trades is not only beneficial for them but also critical for future progress that affects our community directly,” said Torry Hessman, CTE vocational trades teacher at the high school and building committee board member for seven years. “The program is a win-win for everyone. Our young people are trained in a career that can provide for them in many years to come and the construction professionals in the area are able to pull from a well-trained employee pool. Our community needs this.”

In order to get the first summer vocational work program to be a success, PABAC require local employers willing to assist with real-life trade experience for students who will have OSHA safety cards and would have completed building trades one class. This workplace summer introduction would allow employers to watch over the progression of the students over the years up to their high school graduation, when they will then be eligible for full-time employment.

If you feel you will have a work experience opportunity from building material management to on-site assistance, please contact us by email above or phone.

To support PSHS and PABAC with its September 2018 courses, several remodeling projects are required to take place, such as installing a fire sprinkler system, upgrading the electrical system, installing partitions and wood shop machinery (already donated) and tools (power saws, drill presses and other construction equipment).

“We are committed to keeping costs down with volunteering our time to support and increase vocational career trade so the next generation can have the skills to continue to build on this great mountain community, so financial contributions as well as volunteer labor and materials will help us to rise to the task ahead,” said Gary Hedgecock. “Eventually, we’d like to put Vocational Career Facility to house the entire program, which could be expanded as local needs and employment environment adapts to meet future demands. So, for now,we are reviewing an amazing space which will give us a great head start to achieve this goal.”

We know everyone is busy which is great to see, so please support building this career foundation for Pagosa Springs youth by offering summer work placement or donating time, resources or money to this initiative. Contact Hessman at 946-1186 or