Nearly four weeks ago, students in Edmonds College’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Center Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program learned they were going to build a tiny house for their core project. They were excited to apply their new skills in action, especially since it will also provide a transitional home to someone in need.
The tiny house is the first of three projects the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Center (AMSC) recently contracted to build in partnership with two organizations: the nonprofit ANEW, the oldest continuously running pre-apprenticeship program in the nation, and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which provides housing and advocates for housing stability statewide for both people who are low income and those who are homeless. The AMSC pre-apprenticeship program and Edmonds College have committed to building three tiny houses — to be completed by June 2023.
Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program (CAP) students were provided with plans, pallets of material and the added incentive of earned stipend for the project while they learned. On Nov. 1, the AMSC pre-apprenticeship students completed their tiny house project sooner than the traditional five weeks it takes for this style of build. They even had time to include custom, inspirational design elements on the exterior of the door to make it feel welcoming.
“We believe that everyone should have shelter and be able to live in a safe, secure environment,” said Dr. Amit B. Singh, president of Edmonds College. “Our partnership with ANEW and LIHI also aligns with our values and goals providing students with a way to not only learn but stay engaged and connected with their community.”
The AMSC launched CAP a year ago. It is a short-term, high-impact educational training program offered through Edmonds College at no cost to students. CAP prepares students for entry-level trade jobs or a paid apprenticeship program. Through 10 weeks of intensive training, students learn about basics in construction, plumbing, tool identification and use, trade-level math, reading work plans and blueprints, worksite behavior and readiness, life skills in working as a team, setting goals, and problem-solving. Each group then completes a hands-on project as it would apply to an actual job setting.
The tiny house project, in partnership with ANEW and LIHI, is the first of its kind for CAP. Other student core projects include Adirondack chairs, large outdoor picnic tables, and garden sheds.
“Thanks to our partnership with ANEW, all eight of our students were compensated with a stipend as if this was a real jobsite project. Each of them clocked in, managed their time successfully, and completed the project,” said Larry Cluphf, executive director of AMSC. “What also makes this so special is the students are working on a project that builds their construction trade credentials, and they gain a greater understanding of what it means to provide housing to those in need.”
With construction complete, LIHI will pick up the tiny house to add electricity, overhead lighting, insulation, and a heater in preparation for a future local tiny home village community in Snohomish County.