Golden Isles College and Career Academy students spend most of their class days inside the school learning skills they hope to someday apply in a real world setting.

A handful of advanced students in the construction and welding programs, though, have had the chance this school year to make use of the skills they’ve learned through a project that will benefit community members for years to come.

GICCA partnered with Rebuilding Together of Glynn County Georgia, Inc., an organization that focuses on helping low-income seniors, veterans and the disabled have affordable housing, to build a home for veterans in need of housing. To make that project a little more challenging, the two-bedroom home is being constructed inside two 40-foot shipping containers.

“It’s had a lot of challenges because it’s not typical construction in a lot of ways,” said Jeff Holland, the construction instructor at GICCA.

The house will include two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living area.

“We got a seed grant through Sears,” said Allen Booker, executive director of the local Rebuilding Together organization. “It’s not enough to complete the project, so I was looking for resources that would help us stretch our grant to get it done. The labor cost is going to be the biggest cost.”

Booker reached out to Rick Townsend, CEO of the Career Academy, who coordinated with GICCA’s instructors and agreed to partner with Booker on the project.

“What we’re expecting them to do is put in the doors and windows and the flooring for us,” Booker said. “And then we’ll move it to a lot that was donated to us and the city.”

The work is expected to be completed this fall. The construction and welding students are working almost daily on the project, but they will soon be out on their summer break. Booker said he’s hoping that local welders can volunteer to help work on the home this summer and move the work along.

“We’re reaching out to different resources in the community to get help,” he said.

Once the shipping containers are moved to the lot in Brunswick, the kitchen and bathrooms will be installed and a roof will be built.

Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority offers a rapid rehousing program, and veterans who are in need of shelter will be able to work with the agency to be placed in the renovated home once it’s completed.

The project has provided GICCA’s students with more than a learning opportunity, Holland said. They also have had a chance to give back to their community.

“I felt like it’s a good community service that we could get involved with,” Holland said. “Plus, it gives my students good skills training in carpentry and framing and that kind of stuff.”

Michael Benson, the welding instructor at GICCA, said his students received experience they’d never have in class.

“This is more like real world, outside the school atmosphere,” he said. “They’ve got to experience the atmosphere, working outside, which a true welder does … They picked up the perspective of applying a blueprint to reality.”

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