The Pieces Are Falling Into Place For School Project

June 7, 2002
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TROY, MI — When we last reported on The News’ project to establish a secondary HVACR program in Michigan’s Oakland County, we were still awaiting some important answers. If anything, we’ve learned that educational programs do not get started overnight. But we have also learned that the work under way by school officials is beginning to pay off. Small pieces of the big picture are starting to come together, providing a lot of hope that the goal may very well be accomplished.

HELP WANTED

The most obvious sign that the Oakland Technical Center is preparing to launch another HVACR program is a recent job posting for an instructor who will work with the school’s construction cluster. This instructor will report to the dean of Oakland School’s southeast technical campus in Royal Oak, MI. As reported earlier, this site was discussed as a possible location for the new program.

According to Oakland Schools, the major responsibilities for candidates will include “providing training to secondary students and adults in the areas of HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems within the construction cluster.” Also, emphasis is on quality assurance as well as construction core and foundation skills, simulation, ergonomics, and automation.

There are also a number of qualifications that the school is looking for, including a valid Michigan Teaching Certificate, preferably in Vocational/Trade/Industry-Manufacturing. The school is also looking for someone with experience or a willingness to work with students. Candidates must also be willing to work through the restructuring process for the campus’ construction cluster. The addition of the HVACR component to the southeast campus will require some reorganizing in order to make the construction program work as a whole.

The complete list of job requirements can be found at www.oakland.k12.mi.us (website) in the link to the job posting Web page.

At press time, the application deadline for the position was set for June 10, 2002, or until the position is filled.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

In the meantime, staff members at Oakland County Schools have been busy trying to put some student opportunities in place that would benefit the young people who will enroll in the construction technology cluster. Representatives from the school system have been talking with Lighthouse of Oakland County, a local nonprofit organization that works to help the community in various ways.

One portion of the group, known as Lighthouse Community Development, works with contractors to build homes or revitalize existing homes for low-income families. Lighthouse could be compared to Habitat For Humanity, except Lighthouse provides assistance for families in buying and handling mortgages for the newly built or remodeled homes.

“Lighthouse Community Development puts people into clean, affordable housing,” says Dennis Lalone, coordinator for the organization’s home ownership project.

According to Lalone, Light-house and Oakland County Schools have been discussing the possibility of a partnership for a few years now. Recently, Lalone met with representatives of the school system to begin pounding out some details.

“We are in the process of a working relationship,” says Lalone. “We hope to very soon be working in partnership with [Oakland Schools].”

The goal of the partnership would be to allow students involved in the construction cluster to participate in Lighthouse’s building projects. Students would have the opportunity to shadow builders, contractors, and other tradesmen as they work on the homes. The school would also like to see its students participate in some of the actual construction and installation involved in the building of the homes in order to give the young people more real world experience.

Publication date: 06/10/2002

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