Jonathan Carter didn’t know much about woodworking or maintaining homes and buildings until last year. He certainly wouldn’t have known how to make decorative shutters for the house as a gift to his teacher’s wife.
“How many shutters do you need? the senior of the Massanutten technical center asked his teacher, Jerry Arbogast.
“Eighteen,” said Arbogast.
“You have a big house,” Carter replied, causing Arbogast to laugh.
MTC’s building management program has only been around for three years. There was a gap in the programs for students to learn how to maintain a property, which included everything from lawn maintenance and carpentry to basic plumbing and cleaning.
“These kids have to be practical,” Arbogast said. “The skills they take with them, they can use them for the rest of their lives, whether at work or at home. “
And it is convenient. With the exception of one day when they take a crash course in safety, students work on projects and tasks that benefit MTC and the community at large.
When the weather is warm, students learn lawn care and landscaping by caring for the grounds of a Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg. After that, they learn how to clean large-scale buildings.
During all this, the students are also working on carpentry projects. For example, on Wednesday, students delivered an extra-large open style cabinet and shelving unit to the MTC dentistry program for use in storing electronic items and tools.
They will also be building a small house this year, with all of the rooms currently in the house and just waiting for the plumbing to be installed before the rest of the construction can begin.
This week, potential students visited the program at MTC, and students in the Building Management program helped them create candy dispensers, which they can keep after they finish painting, too. by MTC students.
Over the program’s three short years, it has grown too large for its original space, Arbogast said.
“If the kids graduate and don’t have a job yet, they will have the opportunity to be hired by the county as a full-time caretaker,” he said. “There is such a shortage.
And while the skills they learn will be invaluable to them in their day-to-day lives, the goal is to find employment after graduation. As soon as they are ready and confident, Arbogast starts helping them find a job.
Adam Wampole is currently working at Sharp Shopper and said he was unsure if he would look for another building management job upon graduation. He enjoys working at Sharp Shopper.
His senior comrade and classmate Carlos Rosas Carcamo wants to open his own skate shop. He made his first skateboard as part of MTC’s building maintenance program.
“There were a few flaws, but it was pretty good,” he said.
As for Carter, he’s not sure what he wants to do once he graduates, but he’s grateful for the opportunity MTC has given him.
“I took this course to help work in my own home,” said the elder. “I learned a lot thanks to the help of my administrators.