U.S. Forest Service retiree Liz Oswald enrolled in Central Wyoming College’s Facilities Maintenance program to learn skills to apply to a new career and gain the expertise to improve on her own home.
In an Introduction to Construction and Maintenance course, she is getting familiarized with a “whole lot of skills,” said instructor Andy Eckart, who is again teaching the 21-day intensive course from July 30-August 31 at the CWC Sinks Canyon Center. Students learn basic framing and construction techniques, building maintenance, door and window replacement, insulation and air sealing as well as finish plumbing of kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
Students learn by working on a variety of projects at a 32-by 48-foot maintenance shop at the Sinks Canyon Center. The shop, which was built by a construction trades class taught by Eckart, now serves as a lab for construction and facilities maintenance students. To date, students have insulated the building, installed doors and windows, hung sheetrock and built stairs. The class also put shingles on a storage shed, also built by one of Eckart’s class.
“I enjoy finding just the right way to present a concept, or helping a student find their path toward understanding a task,” Eckart said of his teaching style.
A former hydrologist with the Forest Service, Oswald appreciates learning by doing. “I wanted to learn in a hands-on environment,” she said. “It’s great to see the results.”
Eckart, who before joining the CWC staff worked as a carpenter with Whimpy Wolf Builders and as a general contractor on the first Habitat for Humanity home built in Lander, is delighted to watch his students “do something for the first time.”
In addition to the hands-on experience with the building and remodeling projects, students also participate in a communication and employability workshop to learn resume writing and interview skills. For more information, contact the CWC Lander Center at 332-3394.