iBuild Program – Construction and Architecture Career Exploration and Certification
SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – The iBuild El Paso Program is an online initiative to support students and teachers in the construction and architecture areas of study with a concentration in construction and OSHA certification. The program provided high school students an opportunity to explore the fields of construction and architecture. The program began on June 8, 2020, and has been extended through December 2020. The facilitators: Domingo Sanchez – San Elizario High School Teacher for the Construction Technology Program of Study, Oscar Carrera, and Efren Tarango both are Professional Development Consultants from Region 19.
The high school students were provided accounts through the Health and Safety Institute and they navigate through the OSHA 30 online course with a focus on Building Maintenance Technology I. The summer group worked independently and were provided access to Blackboard Ultra as their learning management system. Through the Blackboard Ultra platform, the students receive exposure to a platform that they will come in contact with during their post-secondary studies. Students are expected to check for Blackboard messages daily and use it as their primary means of communication with facilitators. They have learned to navigate Blackboard folders, discussion forums, upload assignments, and follow the assignment sequence of folders to complete tasks. "The engineering and construction curriculum give students at San Elizario ISD a first-hand experience into what it takes to be a professional in these fields," stated Mr. Oscar Carrera, Professional Development Consultant from Region 19. Due to COVID-19, the students and facilitators meet virtually through the Zoom platform. This opportunity is a real-world adaptation to what industry professionals are using during quarantine conditions.
Opportunities to gain work-based learning exposure to industry professionals are provided and continued through iCEV videos, pre-recorded web-based videos of industry professionals, and local professionals, such as Mr. Joe Gomez, for Jordan Foster Construction and Ms. Countryman and Mr. Castle for MNK Architects. They communicate the need to develop soft skills, the responsibility of having community relations, a real-world background to the work they do, and the importance of OSHA 30 certifications in their career path. Mr. Efren Tarango, Professional Development Consultant from the ESC Region 19, affirmed, "I was overjoyed with the continued effort that the students showed with every passing week. They improved in their communication skills through blackboard, but more importantly, they worked through areas that were originally setbacks and found ways to move past them."
High school students' projects consisted of 34 modules and tests through the Health Safety Institute to receive the OSHA 30 General certification. Ms. Sandra Sanchez, the CTE coordinator, acknowledged that "This is a great demonstration of students learning in a virtual environment and achieving success. There are truly no obstacles when a student finds their focus in a career of their choosing." There are 7 students from San Elizario High School who have completed this accomplishment. These students are Ivan Berumen, Gael Andres Luna, Alexis Maldonado, Victoria Portillo, Aaron Jeramiah Vallecillo, Kevin Arroyo, and Roberto Salinas. Mr. Domingo Sanchez, the student's Construction Teacher, stated that "These "Soaring Eagles" are the paradigm of true leadership, unwavering commitment, and grit. Some of these students worked several hours extra using the Google Translator to accomplish this incredible task. Tackling OSHA 30 could potentially be the most difficult high school assignment they undertake. Kudos to the students."