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Local home builders association launches student chapter in hopes to fill 60,000 S.C. jobs

More than 50 students from St. James High School and Academy for Technology and Academics are members of National Association of Home Builders student chapter. (Amanda Kinseth/WPDE)

The Home Builders Association says 60,000 construction jobs need to be filled just in the state South Carolina and current builders are aging out of the business.

So, the Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association and area high schools are working together to attract a younger workforce.

Students like Isaac Howell and his classmates, who built a goat feeder for his dad, one of many projects guided by instructor David Gaither at the Academy for Technology and Academics (ATA) in Horry County, are interested in the industry.

From goat feeders to dog houses to bee hives--even a smoker--students are learning skills that are highly sought after by the home building industry.

"So, for us in the home building industry, if we can bring these kids in and also solve the issue of needing more contractors to work for us, we've done a good thing," said Rob Clemons with the Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association.

The Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association launched its first ever student chapter and has more than 50 members so far, from St. James High School and ATA.

"All of my students are members of the Student Home Builders Association. I'm very proud of that," said Gaither.

Through the association, students are able to shadow builders and get a deeper glimpse into the industry, including touring new construction.

"Doing this stuff is helpful because this allows us to see how, on a large scale, how these houses are built," said Thomas Atchison, a St. James High School student.

"You can see the excitement of the kids, and it's really inspiring," said Clemons.

Their young minds are eager to learn, and inspired to work.

"Hopefully it takes me to a good job where I can get a bunch of money for it," said Howell.

The Academy for Technology and Academics students will be awarded in January by the National Association of Home Builders for being one of the best student chapters in the country. They came in second place.

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