Over a year ago, Frame Your Future’s Director of Workforce Development, Brian Burrow, and former SHBA Workforce Development Committee Chair Deacon Band, owner of Band Construction, had an idea.
Brian and Deacon were inspired by the local Extreme Team projects and discussed the idea of transforming a trailer into a mobile construction workshop. Their vision was to create an on-the-go job site by outfitting a trailer with cutting-edge tools and taking it to students across Spokane, giving them direct access to exciting construction projects.
Left to right: Deacon Band, Band Construction, Brian Burrow, Frame Your Future, County Commissioner Josh Kerns, Spokane County, Fred Anderson, Compass Construction, Ryan Edens, D.R. Horton
On May 20, the hottest day of the year so far, they saw their vision come to life as the Skills that Build Trailer was revealed.
More than 80 high school students, instructors and volunteers had just finished building five storage sheds outside of East Valley High School for Frame Your Future’s Construction Camp. A long piece of yellow caution tape was held in front of the completed mobile workshop and County Commissioner Josh Kearns had the honor of cutting the “ribbon.”
“This trailer is state of the art!” said Fred Anderson, owner of Compass Construction and a FYF trustee. “It’s a carpenter’s dream on wheels.”
“Today, one in four construction workers will reach retirement age within the next 10 years but our state and even our local school districts continue to funnel students into four-year degree pathways while cutting funding for shop programs,” said Fred. “A new workforce must be trained and ready to take over critical positions—from top to bottom—of every construction company.”
The need for skilled construction workers is a pain point that home builders across the region are experiencing, and building a training pipeline for youth and adults is a necessary solution to the housing crisis.
“The Skills that Build Trailer is fully equipped with enough hand tools, power tools, and materials to supply a crew of high school students with what they need to build a garden shed or whatever project we undertake while giving students opportunities to hone their skills and learn about careers in construction,” said Brian.
FYF plans to hire a full-time builder/instructor that will travel with the Skills That Build Trailer to support high school construction programs throughout Spokane County. The instructor will facilitate hands-on learning projects as part of FYF’s skilled construction worker training pipeline. Visit LinkedIn for job posting.
The first stop for the mobile workshop will be at Central Valley High School. FYF staff will drop off materials that woodshop students will use to build a shed. Next up will be a trip to Innovation High School to deliver tools and materials that students will use for an energy efficiency project in the fall.
The mobile workshop that was envisioned over a year ago was made possible with the support of several local organizations.
The trailer and tools were sponsored by Spokane County and the Spokane Home Builders Association.
Fred Anderson, owner of Compass Construction, worked with one of the company’s seasoned carpenters to complete the custom interior work with lighting, compartments for all the tools and safety gear, charging stations and slots for cordless drills.
SHBA’s Jennifer Thomas collaborated with Will Oakley, owner of Inked Wraps, to create the trailer’s exterior design.
“One of Frame Your Future’s goals is to help fill the gaps that state and district budget cuts have left in many high schools across the Spokane area,” said Brian. “Woodshop classes across the state got cut following the 2008 Recession and many have never returned. Construction companies are now feeling the effect and our communities need more skilled workers.”