With floor plans in hand and white construction hats on, about 15 high school students attempted to visualize the empty space they stood in as a fully constructed house.

The students of the Mid Coast Construction Academy walked through the area with electrical conduits as a guide to where bathrooms and a kitchen will be one day.

“There are different aspects to building a home. There’s plumbers, builders, electricians,” said home builder Steve Klein. “We all have to work together to make this happen.”

The high school students were able to learn about the process of building a home during a field trip Thursday at the Terravista subdivision on the northwest side of Victoria.

The group of students, who were from Victoria, Calhoun, Cuero and Ganado school districts, spent the day as part of the pre-apprenticeship program of the Mid Coast Construction Academy.

The academy is a partnership between local businesses, community leaders, local school districts and the Association of Builders and Contractors Mid Coast Chapter and is a four-year program.

Exposure to the construction jobs and trades is important, Klein said, because students may not know of the career opportunities within that field outside of college.

One student, Florentino Amador IV, said he knew he didn’t want to attend college after high school.

The Cuero High School junior said he has worked with his family on ranches and likes working with his hands.

He plans to become an electrician through the academy’s program.

“It’s a great opportunity that can I can take with me for the rest of my life,” Florentino, 17, said.

Klein, who lead the tour of students through his subdivision, was one of the local businessmen who spoke to the students about the construction industry and how the industry has changed with technology.

“More homes being built are smart homes,” Klein said. “Many buyers want their homes equipped to work with an app on their phone.”

Stephen Turek, who owns Hall Electric, said he supports the academy. He has three employees enrolled at Mid Coast Construction Academy.

Turek said awareness of jobs in the field is important, because recruiting young adults can be difficult. He said there has been a labor shortage and would like to see the younger generation in more electrical jobs.

The average age of an electrician, he said, is about 50 years old. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of electricians is projected to grow.

“Electricity is always going to be needed. Electricians are one of the first to be on site when building a home or a commercial building,” Turek said.

Students were also able to walk through a model home and homes that are nearly completed. Maria Jimenez, a junior at Cuero High School, said the construction business has always interested her and decided to apply to the academy to give her more career opportunities.

What has caught her attention the most, Maria said, is interior design or home renovation.

“Since I am also a creative person, it would be a great way to design a home from the inside or go back to a home and redesign it to make it different,” Maria, 17, said. “There are so many possibilities in this field, I think.”

Shannon Tesch, a student in the adult apprenticeship program, said he enjoys enjoys learning on-the-job. The 19-year-old said he plans to become an electrician and possibly own his electrical business one day.

“I enjoy this job so much because you learn more and more each day, and every person who helps you has a different technique,” Tesch said. “It’s given me a different outlook on life.”

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Amber Aldaco reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at aaldaco@vicad.com or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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