Macomb County students get hands-on training, land jobs before graduating

Warren Consolidated Schools Career Prep Center offers program that teaches students construction skills, lets them earn college credit

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:00:58 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 15 2013 11:31:32 AM EST

Some high school students taking advantage of hands-on programs in Metro Detroit are landing jobs before they even graduate.

The Warren Consolidated Schools' Career Prep Center offers the Building Trades program that teaches students skills that the instructor said they can use no matter what career path they choose.

"This is life long learning skills. I think everybody should really do this type of learning," said Dan Barterian, the instructor of the Building Trades program.

Garrett Zacharek attends Cousino high school and travels to the Warren Consolidated Schools' Career Prep Center  in Sterling Heights for the program.

"Lets just say I had  a plumbing problem or a roofing problem instead of paying somebody to do it and taking a chunk out of my wallet, I would rather just know how to do it myself and feel good about it," said Zacharek.

Students in the program can take advantage of a pair of interactive computer modules that look like video games.

The students use the simulators to learn how to use a front loader and an excavator.

"There are countless advantages to the experience the students get on the simulators," says Building Trades Instructor Dan Barterian. "They come away with the skills and experience to qualify for an entry level job operating heavy equipment or can continue to pursue schooling in building trades."

WATCH: Rhonda tries excavating simulator, gets stuck

During the first year of the Building Trades program students learn key skills like plumbing, rough carpentry, finished carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and tile work.  In the second year the students build a home from the ground up.

They are currently working on a 1,750 foot home in Troy that will sell for about $200,000 when it's finished.

Barterian said the students do about 90 percent of the work to build the home.

Students in the program can also earn up to 15 credits at Macomb Community College.

Barterian has taught the program for 17 years and has several success stories including students who have started their own business or going onto construction management.

Some students are getting hired right away.  He said their is a demand right now for construction jobs.

"I usually don't get calls until the end of the school year for graduating seniors but this year I've already had a couple calls that say they can't find any body," said Barterian.

For more information on how the programs available at the Warren Consolidate Schools' Career Prep Center, click here.