February 12, 2018
The Sustainable Construction Department at Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) was launched in 2015 through funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT-IV) Grant Program. Sustainable Construction now offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree as well as two new one-year certificate programs, Framing and Craftsmanship and Carpentry and Building Science. Students develop the technical knowledge and hands-on skills needed to pursue employment across many areas of the construction industry including carpentry, project management, design, building inspection, and renewable energy installation. The curriculum takes students from start to finish in the design/build process which combines conventional stick framing, the millennia-old craft of timber frame joinery, along with the latest in building systems technology.
Scott Lamer, Program Coordinator at KVCC, reached out to the TFG about furthering and improving the original programming being delivered at the College. He attended the TFG Annual Conference in Madison, Wisconsin last May to explore the potential for collaboration and to begin the deeper process of networking opportunities for the graduates of the KVCC program. Curtis Milton, (career carpenter, former TFG director, current Apprentice Training Program chairman, and a long-time advocate for carpentry as a profession) brokered an agreement between KVCC and the TFG. With the help of TFG staff Curtis organized a diverse group of interested volunteers to review and comment on both the existing and proposed KVCC curriculum. TFG staff compiled the results of this group process to ensure and improve professional trade development for motivated learners.
Through these combined efforts and in support of the proposed programming, KVCC received a certificate of endorsement from the TFG in support of the Sustainable Construction program “whose learning objectives marry traditional craft and innovation to develop well-rounded, versatile professionals” and approval of program contact hours transferrable to the Guild’s Department of Labor registered apprenticeship program. Both organizations aim to bolster a well-rounded timber frame carpentry education in Maine by combining formal education tracks with the traditional apprenticeship skills-development model. This supports the TFG mission to advance timber framing through research, education, and industry, enhances a necessary community of building professionals, and supports an important economic sector in the State of Maine.
In parallel with this program review and certification, a collaborative opportunity to create a timber framed structure was presented to KVCC by former TFG director and 20-year woodworking instructor Ellen Gibson. Ellen has been an advisory committee member of the KVCC Sustainable Construction program since 2015 and is a former executive director of Vaughan Woods and Historic Homestead (VWHH) in Hallowell, Maine. Vaughan Woods is a nature preserve and the Homestead is a house museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Woods is often cited by locals as a source of tranquility and inspiration and the Homestead is a center for educational and community building programs.
VWHH had identified the need for a new structure on the property: a shelter for a site-built beehive wood fired pizza oven that will be used for community events. The shelter was designed by Ellen in collaboration with Alicia Spence, a Florence, Massachusetts based timber frame carpenter and a former TFG Project Coordinator who created the shop drawings. A production schedule was agreed that allowed this 18’x10’ open air timber frame shelter to become the focus of hands-on training this semester at KVCC. Guided by Alicia's drawings and instruction from Sandor Nagy and Amber Oberle, adjunct faculty and teaching assistant, respectively, for the timber frame courses at KVCC, the mortise and tenon joinery is being cut by the students using traditional hand and modern power tools. Assembly on site is slated for late April but is weather and site condition dependent.
On February 23, 2018, Ellen and Curtis will travel to KVCC in Hinkley, Maine, to assist and assess the cutting process. Following a morning in the shop the group will discuss employment and apprenticeship opportunities that are the logical professional extension of the trade and craft-based career path.
KVCC together with the VWHH and the TFG will be hosting a wood fired pizza dinner following the completion of both the structure and the oven at the Homestead on 2 Litchfield Road in Hallowell. This event, demonstrating the strong commitment of all parties, will also be an opportunity for interested TFG members, potential employers, and the local community to meet the students, instructors, and administration at KVCC. Date to be announced.
Employers interested in encouraging the KVCC program and discussing the logistics of the TFG apprenticeship program should contact Scott Lamer (KVCC) at 207.453.5813 or Curtis Milton (TFG) at 603.387.6770
About Kennebec Valley Community College
Kennebec Valley Community College is one of seven community colleges in Maine and prepares full-time and part-time students to enter the job market, to transfer to colleges and universities, and to achieve their professional and personal goals. Programs and services support the economic growth of the community in response to changing needs. Ranked among America’s best two-year colleges, Kennebec Valley Community College offers more than 35 programs and is recognized as the best value in higher education. The college has invested nearly $25 million over the past three years, opening a new campus, upgrading infrastructure, expanding program offerings, and ensuring the highest-quality instruction. More than 94 percent of KVCC graduates find jobs in their field or continue to a four-year college or university. KVCC provides an affordable and practical path to success with small class sizes, excellent support services, and flexible scheduling. KVCC has the lowest tuition in New England, yet most students receive generous financial aid packages to cover the cost of tuition and fees.
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Posted Feb 16, 2018 12:55 PM PST. Edited on Feb 16, 2018 1:41 PM.report