“I grew up around carpentry and construction. Both my grandpas loved to work with wood and it just seems natural.”
That’s how Gore junior Keigan Reid talks about why he chose to get into the Construction Trades program at Indian Capital Technology Center in Sallisaw. He’s a multi-sport athlete for the Pirates where he plays cornerback on the football team, forward in basketball and runs sprints and relays on the track team. Good teamwork is important in these athletic endeavors and at ICTC they work in groups where teamwork is also important.
“You have to work well with others to be successful,” said Reid. “Like in football if you’re not doing what the coaches want, you’re going to be out of place and the other team will be successful. And if you’re building something as a team and don’t do your part the whole project won’t be built well.”
Kurt Henry is in seventh year as the instructor for this program at ICTC after working for over 20 years in construction.
“We start out showing the students and testing them on the safety aspects of all of our equipment. From there we start on projects beginning with bird houses and chairs and working up to small buildings and along the way they also learn how to read blueprints.”
Although the tendency may be to see how quickly you can move from one project to the next, Reid says it’s not all about speed.
“Speed is important to me as a cornerback in football but if I’m not patient enough to figure out what a receiver is going to do, his skill may overcome my speed. The same is true in construction where you have to get it right first and then worry about the speed.”
Keigan also likes the hands-on aspect of teaching done in the program.
“I’m really a hands-on learner. Like in football the coaches can tell me how to do something, but if they show me how or I can see a film of it, it’s a lot easier for me to pick it up.”
While Reid says he plans to go into construction when he’s finished with high school, instructor Henry says even those that don’t will still have a valuable trade.
“This is an in-demand skill and for those who want to work we have groups like the Arkansas-Oklahoma Carpentry Union calling us all the time looking for qualified candidates. But even if you don’t do this professionally, think of how valuable this will be for someone as a homeowner who can now make a lot of their own repairs.”