Our industry is always trying to figure out how to get young people interested in modular and offsite construction as a career path but our actions rarely meet our desire. That is about to change for one school district in Boulder, Colorado.
The Boulder Valley School District is working with the city on a plan to annex land on the Boulder TEC campus to construct a modular home factory to teach their students how to build homes on a production line.
At Boulder Technical Education Center, better known as Boulder TEC, students in the construction program have already built picnic tables, benches, and sheds. Each new project teaches them skills for a career.
But future Boulder TEC students will be able to add something even bigger to their resume: a whole house. The Boulder Valley School District is working with the city to annex land on the Boulder TEC campus to construct a factory. Inside that facility, students at Boulder TEC would work with Habitat for Humanity to build modular homes.
Boulder TEC principal Arlie Huffman said it will be an opportunity for students to bring everything they learn together.
“From the design, all the way through the finished work and everything you can imagine that goes into a house,” Huffman said.
Modular construction is a growing industry, with the potential to address an affordable housing crisis.
Senior manager of housing and human services for the City of Boulder Jay Sugnet said housing has been a concern in Boulder for decades. The City purchased the Ponderosa mobile home park in north Boulder with the goal of eventually replacing many aging mobile units with permanent structures. Sugnet said modular housing is a more efficient approach.
If you work in the modular housing industry in Colorado and want to turn your desire for more workers into reality, I would suggest contacting the Boulder Technical Education Center and asking what you can do to help get this factory up and running with the latest programs and procedures our industry has to offer.