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May 2004, Vol. 29 No. 2
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Community Colleges Build Solid Careers

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AEC program at Honolulu Community College

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Published May 2004

College lessons

Trade classes play role in home remodel project

by Heidi Sakuma

Tammy Moseley has a unique definition of homework. Moseley is a student in the Architectural, Engineering and CAD (computer-aided drawing) Technologies Program at Honolulu Community College and plans on going into interior design. In the meantime, she is using the skills she learned in the AEC program to build an extension onto her home.

Tammy Moseley and her home remodel project

Tammy Moseley and her home remodel project.

AEC is designed for people interested in becoming architectural or engineering drawing technicians. Students use the program as preparation for work in building construction, interior design and other fields. The program even offers a lifetime job placement service—AEC graduates on the mailing list receive notices of job openings in the technical drawing and design fields.

Moseley was interested in general home improvement even before she returned to school. In fact, she had already drawn up preliminary designs for an addition to her Kailua home. She used the CAD lessons to revamp her plans, changing some things and incorporating new elements. Through AEC, Moseley learned a lot about the technical side of drafting and architecture.

"Some students take the AEC courses thinking they’ll do their own remodel, but often it’s just a pipe dream," Honolulu Associate Professor Douglas Madden observes. "Tammy really did it."

"We have a small house on a fairly decent size lot," she says, "so we had the room to do this." Her improved house will include a much larger kitchen and an additional bedroom. The finished project will double the size of the original house, going from 800 to 1,600 square feet.

"It was a really small kitchen. You can always have a bigger kitchen," she says.

The framework is up, but Moseley still has to finish the interior walls and install the kitchen, among other projects. The entire project has taken around two years, and Moseley expects to finish in another year or so... once the grim spring weather finally lets up. "The rain doesn’t really help," she says wryly.

At least when she moves into the working world, Moseley can rightfully claim her studies have been augmented by first hand experience in dealing with construction delays and exacting clients.

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Community Colleges Build Solid Careers

A building boom is creating thousands of jobs on OEahu, and Honolulu Community College is gearing up to expand training in the construction trades. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and Maui Community Colleges train apprentices and credit students in many construction areas, including carpentry, sheet metal, electricity, refrigeration, plumbing and welding. Programs at all three campuses include computer-aided drawing (CAD) courses so students can use technology to prepare two- and three-dimensional construction drawings as well as photo realistic renderings and animations.

Students who complete the programs can earn an AAS (associate in applied science) as well as a variety of specialized certificates. Courses combine theory with hands-on application in the areas of design, retrofit and maintenance. Students learn skills from basic carpentry to framing and finishing and explore new construction technologies and techniques, including sustainable practices such as energy efficiency and recyclable construction materials.

Heidi Sakuma is a student writer in External Affairs and University Relations

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