In a nutshell, the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, school district buys the land where the house will be built and puts up the money for materials, etc. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to get on-the-job training and earn credits toward graduation working alongside professional contractors, builders, electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians building a home that will then be sold on the real estate market. Profits from the sale of each home are used to purchase the next home for the coming school year. There are only 16 spots available so competition is tough; applicants must meet certain academic and attendance benchmarks to be considered.
The 2017-2018 school year is the third year of the construction class, and this year teacher Matt Lonergan welcomed his first female student.
"She's been holding her own with the guys," he said. "They learned pretty quickly that she's here to learn just like they are."
For Olivia Kubica, construction has been something in which she's always been interested and plans on making her career.