Southeast Tech students building home for Habitat for Humanity

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Workforce development and affordable housing are two big challenges facing the city of Sioux Falls. Now Southeast Technical College and Habitat for Humanity are teaming up to address both issues with one project.

Student Amanda Ode is learning to operate a miter saw at this construction site in northwest Sioux Falls. When the class is over, Habitat for Humanity will give the keys to a family in need.

“It’s kind of crazy when you think about it because it’s like, this is something you built and something that’s actually going to get lived in versus just like building a shed or something,” said Southeast Technical College student Amanda Ode. “This is something that somebody’s actually going to use and going to be using for many, many years, hopefully.”

“It allows us to be able to put students in a real-world experience, giving them the opportunity to learn first hand their trades that they’re enrolled in,” said Southeast Technical College VP Benjamin Valdez.

The students will build one home, to begin with, but Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls plans to turn over nine homes to deserving families this year alone and would like to do even more.

“We’re still looking for financial partners, in addition, organizations in the skilled trades that might consider partnering together on a project to help get us across the finish line,” said Rocky Welker, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls.

Beyond providing affordable housing and workforce development, the Habitat volunteers working on the house next door hope the students pick up another life lesson as well.

“Everybody talks about where is this country at, but if they see other people volunteering, hopefully at an early age, it imprints on them not only for a trade, but to help and volunteer and help one another,” said Habitat for Humanity volunteer Jerry Tieszen.

The students are building a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Their goal is to have it blend in with the privately built homes in the neighborhood.

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