This week's Workforce Wednesday takes us to the University of Alaska Southeast. College undergrads and high school students have the opportunity to enroll in an experienced-based program called House Build.

The House Build program is a partnership between UAS, the Juneau School District, and the Juneau Housing Trust. The program gives students real world construction experience that can be applied toward a degree or certification. Houses built through House Build are used for affordable housing programs in the Juneau area.

According to UAS Associate Professor Justin Fantasia, it's been a yearslong process to start land development and begin structure erection.

"Students need to be good problem solvers," explained Fantasia. "Every day we work out here with an idealistic set of plans, with the way things are supposed to be, but we get out here in the mud and dirt and things just aren't how they're drawn... we have to fix (problems) and make plans come to reality."

Fantasia credits the program's success to the ability of teachers able to connect better with students due to small class sizes. Instructors act as mentors and also work to facilitate construction careers for students post-graduation.

If you are interested in the House Build program but don't live in Southeast Alaska, UAS has a residential campus where students can stay. More information on the program is posted on the UAS website.

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