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Construction students build houses to gain work experience at USU Blanding

A green house, with five people standing in front of it.
Justin Bergeman
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House built by construction students

Finals week for college students means tests and papers, but for some, it means progress on a house. The building construction program at the Utah State University Blanding campus involves building a house every two years. Director of career and technical education at USU Blanding Justin Bergeman said it’s a program that progresses with the students.

“They'll start with classroom, book work, and learning the fundamentals, and then they get to go out in the field at that point, and try their skills,” Bergeman said.

After just a semester of working, students can move up in the program.

“The really cool part is that second semester, where now they can sign up as an intern, and get paid to work on the house,” Bergeman said. “And so now they start to learn more of the production aspects.”

Bergeman said students are gaining valuable experience all while completing certificates and earning degrees. It’s a program he said some don’t see the value in.

“I think that there's a mindset in construction, like, from the state's perspective, that construction workers are so needed, that they don't need an education,” Bergeman said.

But he said it doesn't have to be that way.

“You know, yes, there are some individuals that absolutely will not go that path,” Bergeman said. “But if they don't have an opportunity, they're never going to take that path.”

Ultimately, providing students with opportunities to achieve their own goals is what Bergeman said the program is all about.

“If our students are not successful, we're not successful,” he said.

Bergeman said they have been building houses and adjusting the program for decades. He said he feels that the program they have now really hits the nail on the head.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.