A tiny house is opening doors to a world of opportunities for area students, thanks to a hands-on homebuilding initiative between a high school magnet program and the Sales & Marketing Council of the Tampa Bay Builders Association.
Students at the Center for Construction Technologies, a magnet school in St. Petersburg, work side-by-side with TBBA members, who mentor students and demonstrate construction trade skills.
“This program provides us with a tremendous opportunity to educate students about our industry, the joy of providing a home to a family and, of course, the many career opportunities in home construction,” says Scott Campbell, a former TBBA president.
The program was established in 2018 when TBBA members recognized the immense need to encourage and support careers in skilled trades for high school students and young adults.
“Students relate what they learn in the textbook to what they see during the field experience,” says Lincoln Yates, assistant principal of the magnet school. “They’re attentive and ask great questions.”
“The Tiny House Project is a great opportunity to help our local youth while also helping our industry,” says Michael Kramer, vice president at Sharp Design Studio Architecture, which donated design plans for the program’s tiny house.
“Finding talent is always challenging, and anything we can do as an industry to promote jobs and provide proper training will set them up for success,” Kramer says. “This kind of engagement has the potential to lead to full-time jobs for these students, and hopefully a full-fledged career.”
The Tiny House Project also benefits the local economy, says Jennifer Motsinger, executive vice president of TBBA.
“We are providing an alternative housing product that is sustainable, portable and affordable, and when it’s all done will be enjoyed by homeowners for years to come,” says Motsinger.
Over the past seven months, the 28-foot custom tiny home was built by Tampa Bay area skilled-trade professionals, interior designers and suppliers, while actively teaching and mentoring the 123 students participating in the program.
TBBA members donated over 80% of the supplies and labor, and the remaining materials were purchased through monetary donations.
The Laker/Lutz News was one of the TBBA members involved in the project from its inception, through the leadership of Terri Williamson, senior account manager for the newspaper. Williamson is the president elect of the Sales & Marketing Council, which presented a $10,500 check to help finance the Tiny House Project.
“The tiny house capstone project has allowed us to better prepare our students for college, career and life, by bringing student apprenticeship opportunities into our classroom. Students have had the opportunity to hear from the various trade professionals, work alongside them and gain valuable experience and insights that would have otherwise not been possible,” says Assistant Principal Yates.
The tiny house will be showcased at a future Suncoast Tiny House Festival. Funds generated from the home’s sale will support the magnet program for years to come.
For more information about this project, please visit TBBAtinyhouse.com, where you can see a full list of participating companies.
Published March 25, 2020