Interested in construction?

Building trades offers a path to a rewarding career

Shelby Jackson, staff writer

Are you interested in a career in construction or building trades? If so, the Area 31 Career Center building trades program is for you.

Taught by Doug Sisk and Jason Burke, this program graduates students with 18 college credit hours and prepares students for a career in construction trades.

“People think this class is for students who don’t want to go to college but that’s farthest from the truth,” said Sisk, who has taught in the career center for more than 20 years. “We want the students who want a career in this path, and we want to train the people who truly desire going into this type of work force.”

It’s useful for anyone to know how to fix or install anything in their house, or also to be able to recognize if something is broken or needs fixed in your house to know if you’re getting a fair deal with the company charging you.”

— Jason Burke

The typical path is to start in the intro to construction class taught by Burke. He averages approximately 100 students per school year and 30 or so typically move on to the advanced level classes taught by Sisk.

In addition to teaching students how to have a career in construction, second-year students get hands-on experience in building a home on the west side of Indianapolis.

“It’s useful for anyone to know how to fix or install anything in their house, or also to be able to recognize if something is broken or needs fixed in your house to know if you’re getting a fair deal with the company charging you,” Burke said.

Intro to construction teaches you not only tool safety and basic tool use but also plumbing and electrical.

For Sisk and his building trades department he says the class is very useful is you’re wanting to go into that career field. When taking the building trades department class they teach you everything about construction. In addition to building a house offsite, this year are working on building a simulated ambulance for the EMT department in the career center.

Building trades students graduate with 18 college credits through Ivy Tech. Currently there are 118 students in the intro to construction class and 64 students is the building trades department class. The building trades classes are three periods a day and there is a morning and afternoon class.

Both teachers said they decided to become a teacher in this field because they worked in it prior to being a teacher. 

“I became frustrated with the quality of people that were coming into the field so I needed a change,” said Burke, who worked in the construction field for 20 years prior to joining the career center staff. “I see new challenges and an opporturnities every day.”

Sisk was in the process of building a house for a teacher who worked at Ben Davis and he offered him the job that he has now. Both teachers agree that being in the class can be a very helpful thing if you are looking for a career in that work force. 

Building trades teachers you a lot of what you need to know while getting you some of the college credits you may need for your future career.

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