Students Learn Real World Construction Skills in Preparation for NCCER Testing

Published 11:29 am Monday, April 17, 2023

At Picayune Memorial high school, there are students in the Career and Technology program that are working hands-on to receive their National Center for Construction Education and Research License (NCCER).

Three classes of 9-12 graders are led by teacher, Evan Bird. Bird’s class is tearing down and rebuilding a shed located, in the east corner of the Picayune football stadium.

The shed they are building is 18 x 30 feet covering 540 sq feet.

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Bird said the students tore the original shed down to the ground, then loaded the old material into a dumpster, and now they are going back up with a new building that is several feet taller.

“This is hands-on real-world experience the real world” stated Bird.

The students get to experience hands-on demolition, reconstruction, safety, and team working skills. Safety gloves and the proper attire were worn, hard hats were on, and surprisingly not, students were using real construction equipment/instruments (nail guns and saws) with the proper care, just like professionals.

Jill Smith, Director of Career and Technology, said the beginning of the project began a month ago. This project is so these students will be ready for the workforce as soon as they finish high school. After two years in the program, a student will receive their NCCER license, which is nationally certified. Every student will take the NCCER Module testing to receive their national certification. It’s not the same as an adult certification, the students will receive a student-level certification. Each NCCER license holds the students experience and completed tasks. Bird describes it as an online resume.

With the license, these students will be able to get jobs at chemical plants and a lot of the big construction companies.

“There a lot of industries that want NCCER license cards,” said Bird

“They got the experience, they can go to work after graduation,” said Smith. “It puts them at the top of the list as soon as they graduate.”

Bird’s been teaching his student safety first, the layouts of the framing second, and lastly to work as a team, which he says is a huge part of this.

“They have to work with each other to carry this big lumber but it’s just another day of work, so they get to see what it is in the real world,” Bird stated.

What impressed his students the most throughout this project is their excitement. They are excited to get out of the class and get to work.

“Their ability to show up and go to work is impressive.”

Bird’s goal is to finish the shed before the end of the school year.