TULSA, Okla. — The North Tulsa Community Construction School is providing an opportunity for community members to learn a new skill and get a job.
This week, students started work on building a new home.
“All my life I’ve been told I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that,” said student Lewis Jackson.
“One day I was awakened with an opportunity thanks to North Tulsa Community Construction School and Mr. Collins and Senator Matthews believing in us.”
Jackson is one of eight students in the inaugural class at the school.
“Instead of purchasing someone to build me my dream home, now I have the skills to build it from the ground up,” said student Bryce Powell.
The program is led by David Collins who’s been doing construction for 30 years. Collins owns Fenix Group Construction.
“This is how I can give back to the community so that’s my goal,” Collins said.
Collins says he’s wanted to start this program for more than a decade, providing a solid skill set to people who’ve been incarcerated or who aren't college bound. As the students study the blueprints and master each aspect of the construction process, Collins says they’re learning invaluable skills.
“If you have a skill, nobody can take that away from you,” he said.
Students spent about three months in the classroom, studying the specs for the Habitat for Humanity home they’re building in north Tulsa.
Students started in the field training on Monday, digging the footing for the home. The footing will get inspected on Friday, then they’ll be able to start on the rest of the home.
In the 10-month course, these students get the chance to learn a new skill set. They’re also guaranteed a job with Fenix Construction when they finish the project.
“This gives these individuals options and that’s what we need most,” said State Sen. Kevin Matthews.
Matthews represents District 11 which encompasses parts of north Tulsa. He was instrumental in making this program a reality along with several community partners.
The students get a weekly stipend during the training from the Center for Employment Opportunity. Meals on Wheels also helped with food and lunches.
Matthews says as the group helps build homes in town, they’re providing jobs and a path to homeownership which could lead to more development.
“Those rooftops of homeowners drive retail which is much needed in north Tulsa,” Matthews said.
On Saturday, the first group of students will celebrate finishing up the in-classroom portion with a cookout and graduation. The North Tulsa Community Construction School will start a new course in November. You can learn more on their website or by calling 918-955-2283.
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