Student shifts programs, builds on skills for career
Raquel Reed started out taking courses in Gateway Technical College’s Facilities Maintenance program before she realized the ones she enjoyed most were all related to building and carpentry.
That’s why she shifted into the college’s Building Trades - Carpentry program, and she’s enjoyed her education even more since.
“I just love building something from nothing,” she says. “The gratification from seeing something you built with your own two hands, I really like that.”
Raquel hones her skills through the work she and other students do to a Habitat for Humanity home in Racine. Students do have some reading and other book work to complete, but Raquel says it’s the on-site work that ties it all together.
“You can read about it all day, but until you apply it and see how it works in person, you can’t fully understand what you are building,” says Raquel. “We did some work at Gateway in the lab, but I appreciate this experience at an actual job site so much more.”
Raquel said the job site experiences include making a few mistakes, but learning the correct way through that experiential learning cements correct practices and procedures in her mind.
“We can make mistakes, but we learn from them,” says Raquel. “There is a little less pressure here when we make a mistake, we are encouraged to learn.
“This gives you an expectation of what you will experience on an actual job site and what kind of tools you will be using. You can’t just run to the corner of the lab and grab something, so you need to know you have it on hand. This experience teaches you to be prepared, and it prepares you much more than a lab would.
“Being on a site also puts a little more integrity into your work. It’s not just to get a grade. Someone will actually be living in the house, and that motivates me to do better.”