Inside a Clinton High School workshop, Ronnie Warren watched a group of students build a 10 foot x 20 foot wood frame storage building with vinyl siding, a shingled roof and electrical wiring.
“When they come to this class I tell them it’s like showing up for work,” said Warren, agricultural education instructor. “It gives them a taste about the real world.”
The course created by Warren, “Agriculture Workforce Preparedness,” provided a group of students the opportunity to receive extra course credit and “on the job” experience during the summer. It also exposed inexperienced students to the program.
For three weeks, students focused on using machinery and tools properly, basic construction practices and strong work ethic. Students were required to show up on time, follow a rigorous work schedule, and cooperate as a team.
“That is highly stressed,” Warren said.
They also explored career and educational goals, which included a visit to Sampson Community College. During the visit, students met with instructors in the carpentry and welding programs.
Kristy Moore, CHS career development coordinator, said Warren has provided an invaluable opportunity for students during the summer.
“This program is a unique, hands-on learning experience that helps build employability skills for these students,” Moore said. “Mr. Warren puts in a great deal of time and hard work in making sure these students walk away with a life-long understanding of work ethics and team work.”
For close to 10 years the summer course has been a success.
“It has been rewarding for me to see these students develop skills and positive work habits that have enabled them to construct such a quality project,” Warren said. “With the support of the school administration I have been privileged to conduct this summer course since 2009.”
During that time period, about 30 sheds have been built and sold to the public. Profits from the sale will support CHS’s Agriculture and FFA programs.
“It’s not a fundraiser,” Warren said about the program. “It’s more of a teaching tool.”
Warren said the course has been a great complement to his year-round work with students which includes classroom and shop instruction, student projects, and numerous FFA activities.
On the last day, Warren and his students hosted an “open house” and showed their completed building to parents and administration. At the end of the event, Warren awarded each student a certificate acknowledging their completion of the course.
“When they get through, they say ‘wow, we built this,’” Warren said. “It gives the students something they can look at and be proud of when they are finished.”
Terrace Miller, assistant superintendent for student services for Clinton City Schools, said the class is a valuable one for the high school.
“I think it’s a great way of introducing them to the workforce,” Miller said. “I hope we can continue it for a while.”
For more information about purchasing the building, contact Warren at 910-592-2067, ext. 6258 or by email at email@example.com