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Collaborations between NWCC and Town of Smithers prove mutually beneficial

As part of the practical learning portion of their carpentry training, 12 Northwest Community College (NWCC) students have designed, built and erected bunk beds for a homeless shelter in Smithers. In February 2008, BC Housing increased the number of clients the Broadway Place Emergency Shelter could house each night from four to seven. Funded by Smithers Community Services Association and run in cooperation with the Town of Smithers, Broadway Place offers shelter, showers, laundry facilities, meals, resource referrals and help in locating permanent housing to clients in need. Since the number of client beds had gone up, we were three beds short. We only had emergency mats to offer our guests, said Broadway Place Program Manager Pauline Taekema. When Taekema heard NWCCs carpentry class was looking for projects, she submitted a request. As a result, the NWCC Smithers Carpentry class which includes two first-year apprenticeship students and 10 ACE-IT students (Grade 11 and 12 students who are simultaneously earning high school and trades training credits) from Smithers Secondary School and Bulkley Valley Christian School constructed two sets of wooden bunk beds and donated them to the shelter. The bunk beds are just one of many practical projects the students will complete during their 20-week training program, said NWCC Trades instructor Ted Nugent. Projects such as these provide valuable hands-on, practical training for the students and benefit the community, so its a win-win situation. Another community structure the NWCC Smithers Carpentry class will build is a new ticket booth for the Bulkley Valley Fair Grounds. This project developed as a result of a recent collaboration between NWCC and the Town of Smithers. This is the first year NWCC has offered carpentry training in Smithers and until recently the class had been using a local warehouse for workshop space. In April, however, the class relocated its workshop to a quonset hut at the Bulkley Valley Fairgrounds with permission from the Town of Smithers and Fall Fair Committee. This contribution from the Town of Smithers shows it is very supportive of our carpentry program, said NWCC Dean of Trades and Technology Dave OLeary. Their support has been wonderful, enabling NWCC to deliver effective trades training and allowing our students access to education opportunities in their own community.

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