Granite Construction was founded more than 100 years ago in Watsonville, California, which remains their corporate headquarters today. Naturally, the company’s ties to the community where they live, work, and raise their families run deep, so supporting the schools in the area has always been an important part of Granite’s Charitable Contributions Committee. When Erin Kuhlman, Granite’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, and Ashley Stinson, Granite’s Vice President of Risk Management, met with Julie Edwards, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) Coordinator of their Career Technical Education (CTE) Program, and learned about the program, the three immediately began collaborating on ways for Granite to support the CTE Construction Pathway.

“It’s critical that younger people get exposed to construction as a fulfilling career,” Erin expressed, “one that’s accessible and potentially lucrative. The construction industry workforce is rapidly aging out and efforts need to be made now to recruit new talent and illustrate the numerous and varied career opportunities that construction offers.”

Granite Construction Training

On Thursday, May 9th, Erin Kuhlman and Granite’s project team hosted close to 50 of the CTE Construction Pathway students and their teacher, David Patino, from Watsonville High, on a field trip to visit Granite’s Highway 1 Pedestrian and Bicycle Overcrossing Project. Tours of the project were conducted for the students, along with presentations on bridge construction, pictured above.

PVUSD’s CTE Construction Pathway focuses on residential and commercial construction, and features an “Intro to Construction” course, OSHA 10 Certification training, and other more advanced classes. The Granite field trip added Civil Construction to the curriculum.

Students frame the exterior walls of the tiny homes inside the warehouse, then carry them outside for assembly.

To make the CTE Construction Pathway more tangible and hands-on, and subsequently more interesting and exciting for the students, one of the high school teachers involved in the program attended a California Tiny Home Training Camp. That teacher came back with blueprints, a materials list, and a fervor for introducing the students to a real cut-the-lumber, pound-the-nails, hands-on project. The result: Two Tiny Homes Projects are underway. Granite provided the funding for the materials for the two tiny homes, and the students from Watsonville High and Aptos High are providing the labor and building the structures.

With the walls up and the roof joints in place, exterior sheathing is next on the project list.

Thanks to following prescribed guidelines, the constructed tiny homes, by California law, can be considered Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). When completed, the ADUs will be sold by the Pajaro Valley Educational Foundation (PVEF), and the proceeds from the sales will then fund the purchase of materials for the construction of the next tiny home project, making the program self-sustaining.

Mounted on a trailer chassis, insulation is in place as tongue-in-groove siding goes up, marking one of the final steps in the students’ first tiny home’s completion.

Aptos High is scheduled to complete their tiny home in early June, marking it as the first in the district. Watsonville High’s tiny home is on schedule to complete next year.