People skilled in specialized building trades are in demand, and contractor Chad Morman, 28, of Perry works to impart his knowledge to young people in construction classes through Des Moines Area Community College campus in Perry.
Many of his students are in high school in Perry, Woodward-Granger, Panora and Adel school districts, while a few are college-aged.
“The high school student can earn 12 to 14 credits, about one-third of the credits needed to receive a carpentry diploma from DMACC in Ankeny, where the students have to finish up,” he says.
While students have to read a book for Morman’s class, the hands-on work is what helps them learn and retain skills. In the construction class, students learn how to build a house from top to bottom, actually working on the job site. Projects have been done with the city, such as remodeling the building used for Perry’s Farmers Market and pouring the concrete for the project and other people as well.
The class includes carpentry, concrete work, blueprint reading and materials planning such as deciding how much material is needed and the cost.
“We go to the job site every day. The program provides the tools for the students, from hammers and tape measures to tool belts,” Morman says.
He teaches the class from 7:40 – 9:40 a.m. five days a week this fall. He started teaching last year. The teaching is in addition to his full-time job managing his own company, Chad Construction and being a member of the Iowa National Guard.
He says two years ago he never dreamed he would be teaching at DMACC. But, he says, being deployed to Afghanistan with the National Guard put him around some young people who didn’t know their way around construction equipment and construction sites, so he found himself teaching fellow Guard members what he knew.
“That’s part of the reason I applied for the job when I was still in Afghanistan. I saw the need,” he says.