Aiken High School senior Demitri Powell is busy these days learning a new trade. With experienced carpenters along his side, Powell is building a new wrap-around porch for a non-profit organization.
Powell and six other students are gaining valuable on-the-job training with the help of Lawn Life Landscaping and Construction. The students are constructing and renovating a 125-year-old building for the Churches Active In Northside (CAIN).
Before stepping on the work site, though, the students had to pass a test from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
At the job site, the students take on multiple tasks, such as beautifying the outside, constructing the wrap-around porch offering wheelchair access or installing tile in the kitchen area.
“I have learned so much,” Powell said. “We do something different every day.” Powell plans to attend college in the fall.
The students are working with Tim Arnold of Lawn Life to learn new skills, step into the world of work and also earn credit for graduation as required by the Ohio Department of Education. Lawn Life pays the students $15 per hour.
Lisa Votaw, Aiken High School principal, says the skills the students are learning will last a lifetime. “These are life-long skills these students will have whether they pursue a career in construction or not.”