Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Dauphin County Technical School, Building Construction Technology

In order for learners to make empowered career decisions, they need to explore their interests and be exposed to a variety of career options. Work-based learning is one way to open the door of possibilities to learners who may not have previous knowledge of the numerous careers available in a field. One example of a program doing using work-based learning as a career exploration tool, in addition to allowing learners to build valuable skills,  is the Building Construction Technology program of study in Pennsylvania; a 2018 Excellence in Action Award winner in the Architecture & Construction Career Cluster®.

In this program, learners gain numerous work-based learning experiences through local and out-of-state community service projects exposing them to various areas within a career in construction such as zoning, permits, customer service, quality control and contracts. Each learner is also encouraged to participate in a capstone project with a local business to further hone his or her skills. One business that has offered tremendous support, including serving as a capstone site and participating in curriculum development, is Dauphin Enterprises, LLC, a company owned by a former Building Construction Technology student.

Additionally, learners participate in the Building Construction Cares organization created by the program instructor to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. “Learning is most notable when it is used to benefit others,” said Robert Brightbill, Building Construction Technology Instructor, Dauphin County Technical School. Learners have traveled to Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina and West Virginia. During these trips, learners have completed demolition; installed flooring, roofing and windows; and built decks, railings, ramps, sheds and playgrounds to help communities get back on their feet. Trips are planned yearly, and learners help raise the funding through pancake breakfast events and dodgeball tournaments.

A seamless transition is needed not only to career but also to postsecondary education. In this program, learners may also earn up to nine college credits per semester in the following courses: Introduction to Masonry, Carpentry Fundamentals, and Construction Print Reading. In the 2016-17 school year, 83 percent of learners earned postsecondary credit.

Here are a few quotes from learners in the program:

“The best part of my day was when I saw the smile of the homeowner when we finished her roof and the floors in her home. It was satisfying to see what a bunch of teenagers can accomplish in only two days.” – a student from the Fall 2018 cohort

“People just kept showing up, bringing us tools, offering help, expressing their gratitude. Work is more meaningful when we know the people we are trying to help are so supportive and appreciative.” a student form the Fall 2017 cohort

Even though it might have been easy work for most of the guys there, insulation was new to me.  It was great learning something new and feeling confident enough to do it on our own.” Fall 2015

Learn more about the Building Construction Technology at Dauphin County Technical School and our 2018 Excellence in Action Award winners.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 


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