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Dubuque Dream Center teams up with NICC for construction class

Dream Center students from Dubuque work on a shed during their construction class at the...
Dream Center students from Dubuque work on a shed during their construction class at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta on Tuesday, July 30. (Allison Wong, KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Jul. 30, 2019 at 4:38 PM CDT
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A summer program in Dubuque is teaching kids skills that could land them future jobs in construction.

The

, a nonprofit that provides after-school and summer programming for kids, partnered with Northeast Iowa Community College to provide a course on construction. The goal is for the kids to learn a new skill that is in demand. The United States Department of Labor estimates about

will be created from 2016 through 2026.

About six kids are taking part in the program. Throughout the summer, they've built a shed from scratch with the help of instructors.

Sophomore Jayden Hoskins says he's learned, "how to cut, put screws in the right way, and making hard angle cuts."

Now that the class is almost over, Jayden says all of this work has come to him a lot easier than he thought it would.

"It's pretty neat," he said. "I thought we were going to have a lot of challenges."

Tim Gaffney, Dream Center Youth Career Development Coordinator, says this class is exposing his kids to something new

"A lot of these kids have probably never even picked up any tools or done a lot of DIY stuff, so this is an opportunity to just see if they have that skill or interest," he said.

It's also introducing them to a potential career that's in demand.

"You could talk to any contractor and he's going to say he can't find people to work because you know the guys my age are retiring and that's the guys that are doing it right now," Gaffney said. "You have to have the younger generation come in and fill those spots, and there's plenty of spots to fill."

It's likely that not every one of these students will pursue this career path. Eighth-grader Jashawn McCarter says, "I’d rather do it for fun," and that he wants to be a professional basketball player.

On the other hand, Jayden says this is his first step toward achieving his dream.

"I want to be a mechanical engineer when I grow up," he said.

The students will graduate from the program and receive a certificate on August 15. The Dream Center plans to auction off the shed to raise money for the organization.