Construction Summer Employee

“He’s been a model employee.”

That statement was made by our Property Manager/Vocational Skills Instructor, Sam Coy, regarding one of our Coyote Hill youth this summer.

Coyote Hill’s Success for Life program helps our teens and preteens develop work ethic and character through our Vocational Skills program. Only teenagers and preteens can apply for this voluntary vocational program. Teens work on-site, earning a weekly paycheck in a variety of realms, ranging from landscaping, construction, office skills, barn management, welding, mechanical maintenance, and housekeeping. They also learn key soft skills that are needed for a successful transition into the workforce, including social skills, communication skills, higher-order thinking, self-control, and positive self-concept. The Vocational Skills program also provides a safe place to fail and learn from one’s failures. The end goal is that the child will learn the value of a dollar and the skills necessary to be successfully employed. One of our employed teens, Thad*, explains the process and how it’s working:

Thad: I had to apply for the construction assistant job. It was like a normal job application and required three references. It also asked questions like why I wanted the job, what I wanted to learn from the job and how I would deal with the heat this summer.

Sam: After he filled out the application, I sat down with him and talked about the responsibilities and expectations and made sure he wanted the job.construction employee youth | coyotehill.org

Thad: I put in about 24 hours a week with Sam, working eight hour days on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I’m learning more than just construction skills. I’m learning a good work ethic, learning to work with other people and learning a bit about all the scheduling issues in the construction process. Lately, we’ve mostly been doing electrical and plumbing work. I don’t think I prefer one over the other.

Sam: Actually, the plumbing we’ve been doing lately is digging up broken hydrants in the wastewater irrigation field…

Thad: Ooo yeah, I think I’d rather be an electrician! We ran some wires, drilled holes, etc. while doing electrical work. I’ve been learning a little bit of everything while working with Sam. I’ve learned to work with lots of different people. I’ve learned some things about different tools, doing framing and concrete work, taking measurements and figuring angles. It’s been a good experience. There’s more math involved in construction work than what I thought!summer employee sawing | coyotehill.org

Sam: I appreciated Thad’s help the most when we were closing in the gable ends of the duplex. When we had the framing days, we framed the walls, sheeted them, then set the trusses and sheeting; but both gable ends were still wide open. The siding crew was going to do that work, but it really needed closed in right away, so Thad and I tackled it ourselves. I needed to be up on the scaffolding with the nail gun, so he became my ‘cut man.’ He quickly learned how to figure the roof angle, how to read a tape measure, and use a Skilsaw. He’s becoming proficient at using that saw. So he cut all of the sheeting to size for both gable ends of the house and handed it up to me so I could nail it in place.

In conclusion, Sam can’t help bragging about Thad, “Thad is always on time for work, or else he’s early. Many times he’s here waiting for me when I show up for work. He doesn’t watch the clock, he’s never ready to quit; he’s just ready to keep going and working. He’s been a model employee.”

Your continued support helps teens like Thad receive the training for life necessary to become a successful employee someday. THANK YOU!

*name changed for sake of confidentiality