Breeze – Courier Writer
TAYLORVILLE — A few years have passed since a devastating tornado ravaged Taylorville. A tornado swept through Taylorville on Saturday, December 1, 2018. More than 500 structures were damaged following the tornado. This storm left a community that in dire need of being restored.
Missions for Taylorville took on the project of helping the Taylorville community rebuild properties and structures. There is still some properties that have not been restored since the tornado. Missions for Taylorville has partnered with Lincoln Land Community College to offer students hands-on learning while assisting those affected by the tornado or other unfortunate circumstances.
The LLCC Carpentry Two summer class, taught by instructor Chris Edmonds, is building a garage for the Bland Family as their summer class project. The garage belongs to a couple whose property was damaged from the 2018 tornado. Chris Edmonds said the hands-on experience is great for the students and the community.
Edmonds said, “We’re preparing skilled workers to go out into the workforce.”
The carpentry students are excited for the opportunity to not only help others, but also gain hands-on experience in the field.
Baylee, carpentry student, is in the HVAC program. Her grandfather does carpentry and her father works in HVAC. Baylee said she got into the program because her dad is her role model and she wants to follow in his footsteps. There aren’t a lot of women in these occupation. Baylee said, “There’s been a total of four [women] I’ve seen in these in classes. We’re kind of the underdogs in all this. I’m just trying to prove a couple different people wrong, that I can do it.”
Kayla, a student in the Carpentry two class, has been interested in this field for quite some time. Her great-grandfather was a carpenter for 75 years. Growing up she learned how to do things around the house and enjoyed it. Kayla took trade classes at CACC where Edmonds was her high school instructor. Kayla said, “I like being able to work with my hands and get stuff done.”
LLCC has also worked with Habitat for Humanity in Springfield. Edmonds said they are open to working with different organizations as long as the project matches with the curriculum.
LLCC wants to get the word out there to anybody whose interested in construction trades. Construction occupations is not always hands-on. There’s management aspects as well. Edmonds emphasized the benefits of a career in construction occupations. Jobs in this field have good wages and excellent benefits such as health-care and retirement. LLCC encourages career exploration. An Associates Degree in construction occupations takes two years or students can obtain a certificate of completion.