CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical College Innovatively Pool Resources to Help Students Build a Tiny Home

CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical College Innovatively Pool Resources to Help Students Build a Tiny Home

SARASOTA, Fla. (January 20, 2021) — CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and Suncoast Technical College (STC) combined efforts and resources to help students learn construction-related skills by building a tiny home on the school campus. This is a first-of-a-kind training approach where students were taking what they were taught in the classroom and immediately applying it in the field.

Beginning in late 2020, STC students enrolled in the following programs worked together under the leadership of the instructors to draft and build this home: plumbing; building trades and construction design technology; heating, ventilation, and A/C refrigeration; drafting, advanced manufacturing and production technology; carpentry; electrician; and marine service technology. Over the course of the project, 185 students earned a total of 145 industry-recognized certifications.

“The tiny home provided a real-world construction field experience by allowing me to get hands-on training with several trades on one project. I worked on the tiny home plumbing, electrical and even hung dry wall all of which translates directly to the construction career I am pursing upon graduation this spring,” says Zack Fitzpatrick, Building Trades and Construction Design Student at STC.

The tiny home is eco-friendly using solar panels as its energy source and a compost toilet. Moving forward, it will continue to be a hands-on training tool for students while also serving as a rolling promotional center to encourage skilled trades education and careers to K-12 students and families in the Sarasota area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction job outlook for 2020-2023 is expected to increase 7% with 2020 median pay $37,080 annually.

This project was made possible thanks to the funding from Walt and Renee Eppard who donated $35,000 to help purchase the supplies to build the home. Other donors include CareerEdge, Christopher Michiels Interiors (CMI), Alvin J. Singleton Roofing, and PGT Innovations. These funding dollars and donations of product, combined with unrelenting passion from the STC leadership team, students, and instructors, were the backbone of this very innovative and highly successful project.

“It is very rewarding to be a part of this cutting-edge introduction to skills required for careers that are so important to our community and provide a path and opportunity to lifelong advancement. We appreciate all who have helped with this and hope it opens doors for many students,” says Walt Eppard.

There is a tiny home ribbon-cutting at 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 3, on the STC Main Campus (4748 S Beneva Rd), to publicly recognize all who have made this project a success. The ribbon cutting will be held in conjunction with STC’s open house that promotes all its educational offerings. Public and media are encouraged to attend this public event.