Learning in a classroom is nothing compared to hands-on experience. This became clear on Saturday when the day laborers built a shed from the ground up. Some of the men came in with backgrounds in restaurants and hotels with no practice in construction. “I’d taken classes about using a saw before,” reported one day labor. “But I’d never used one in my life.” He had started out passing the cutting off to everyone else until the instructor came over and make him practice cutting small pieces of wood on his own. Soon the jagged cuts smoothed out in to straight, clean movements. This is the practical experience that our members find in the trainings at the Chavez Center.
The shed building project started last month with a workshop where the instructor, a day labor member himself, laid out the plan for building a shed. As the instructor, Jose Luis Amador brings mastery in carpentry to share with the members. His patience and thorough explanations to his students did not just start in this workshop, but rather over the years he has apprenticed several members taking them under his wing to teach them valuable skills in construction. In the workshop it was no different. Each student received the individual attention he needed to overcome the reluctance and confusion they had when it came to construction. Not only that, but at the same time, they were learning the safest, more effective ways to carry out their shed building project.
Great teachers. Great hand-on experience. But "why sheds?" you might ask. It actually serves as a perfect training ground for any construction project. A shed follow much the same pattern as building a house, only on a smaller scale -- foundations are created, walls erected, doors and windows installed, siding attached, and a roof to top it off. The steps involved in the process gave the students an opportunity to learn and practice a variety of specific skills that apply not just to shed building, but also to a wide array of construction jobs. With this new skills set, the members can go out to work more often as employers come to the Chavez Center requesting specific skills.
But the skill set is not the only reason for doing a shed-building project! Pretty soon, you could be the owner of one of these sheds. Keep an eye out for more information coming soon.