Sarasota trade school students building tiny home for experience // From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Sarasota trade school students building tiny home for experience

Suncoast Technical College students work inside a tiny home on campus.

SARASOTA COUNTY – Before trade school students graduate, prospective employers want them to have hands-on experience in their fields. But the global COVID-19 pandemic stalled internships and canceled on-the-job programs where students could practice and gain real-world experience.

In response, Suncoast Technical College and CareerEdge collaborated on the Tiny Homes Project that will give 180 students across five trade programs practice building small homes over a 10-month period.

Students from plumbing, construction, HVAC, drafting and electrical will work together to build the house at the STC campus.

Previously, students built homes with Habitat for Humanity, which has had to limit the number of volunteers because of the coronavirus. Students were among Habitat’s first cuts.

“The Tiny Home Project is a creative collaborative project that not only serves as project-based learning for our current students, but also as a learning lab for future students,” said Dr. Ron Dipillo, Executive Director of ACTE, Sarasota County Technical College. “These innovative learning opportunities are made possible by CareerEdge and funders like Mr. Eppard.”

That’s Walter Eppard, a retired developer whose Eppard Family Foundation works with CareerEdge to help bolster skilled trade education in the region.

Suncoast Technical College students work inside a Tiny Home on campus.

The tiny home will be eco-friendly with rechargeable solar battery, and composting toilet. Upon completion, the home will become a rolling promotional center for skilled trade education, geared toward K-12 students and families in the Sarasota area. Activities will fill the space inside the home to provide students and families with information on skilled trade education and career opportunities.

“We believe once this one is out there there will be others who want tiny homes,” Executive Vice President of CareerEdge Mireya Eavey said. “It’ll provide an opportunity for the next students to come through to build one.”