Henrico Schools CTE program students gain hands-on experience from scaffolding experts

In March 2018, Henrico County Public Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) program had a nationally recognized Letter of Intent signing day. After the event, Roger Jetton, president of Scaffolding Solutions contacted me to inquire more about the program. He was interested in partnering with us to help provide students with an understanding of the scaffolding industry and also develop potential opportunities for career development.

With the support of the Henrico County Vocational/Technical Education Foundation, students in the Advanced Career Education Centers program build houses. This is their classroom, and in 2018 we are currently building our 19th house. The house has a full rear exposed basement and will have full brick siding, which requires the students work on scaffolding to complete it.

After meeting with Roger, Scaffolding Solutions provided students with two unique opportunities. The first came when Roger offered to provide complete scaffolding to assist in the construction of the house. This scaffolding wraps the entire house so that students can continue to work without moving it through the progression. This has changed our program entirely. As we have limited time on the job site each day, it has allowed more time for developing necessary technical skills to maximize student’s learning opportunities.

The second opportunity came on the day Scaffolding Solutions arrived to the job site to install the scaffolding. Students were able to watch, participate, and learn from the experts themselves. The crew took the time to show the students what they were doing, how they were doing it, and the students were able to see and participate from start to finish. It was quite an eye-opening activity for them and turned into an impromptu, hands-on career fair. The students walked away with an understanding of the industry that could have never be gained by just visiting a job site or hearing someone talk about it.

Our goal with each partnership is to promote the concept of a handshake, not a handout, and the partnership with Scaffolding Solutions has been exactly that. Through this partnership, 40 students have had the opportunity to see and participate in the erection of the scaffolding. Over the next month, 100 students will work safely and securely on that structure. At the end of the day, Scaffolding Solutions and CTE are building not only the house, but a future workforce together.

Contact Mac Beton at mrbeaton@henrico.k12.va.us.

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