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San Luis construction classes get hands-on training from Arizona Masonry Council

SLHS construction students show off their workFour San Luis High School construction classes took part in a four-day hands-on instruction course from the Arizona Masonry Council (AMC) this week. 

The students are working towards meeting Arizona state Career & Technical Education (CTE) standard, 6.0, “perform masonry work” as part of Construction 1 and Construction 2 classes. Throughout the week, they identified tools, mortar mixes, units within a masonry wall, and bricks and blocks. They then have an opportunity to work with the tools for various projects, including lining blocks and ensuring the line and wall are both straight. 

“My students are vocational students that took it to the next level,” SLHS construction teacher Lawrence Casaus said. “They were able to achieve their goals pretty fast and everyone was 100-percent buy-in.” 

The AMC works with high school students across the state each year as part of their workforce development and training program. 

“We have really stepped forward and invested in the future workforce,” AMC Workforce Development and Training Coordinator Ryan Gray said. “We have a lot of contractors, producers, coming together and we plan on making a difference in showing these kids masonry.” 

Gray, along with his son, Primer, said they will provide training for upwards of 4,000 CTE construction students in 2022-23. They will visit Kofa High School next week. 

“While we are here, we teach them accountability, first. You have to be accountable for your work, you have to clean up every day,” Gray said. “Basic skills in masonry, spreading, buttering block, layout. We build some arches, some brick work. So, some fun stuff and some good stuff to learn.” 

Former students from Casaus’ class have taken advantage of what they’ve learned. Many have moved to advance their skills at Arizona Western College or begun apprenticeships and internships with companies such as Fowler Malone Construction, McCarthy Construction, Cemex, and others. 

One of the most appealing factors for potential employers is that students in the CTE construction programs earn an OSHA-10 certificate and some of the more experienced vocational students can earn their OSHA-30 certificate. According to Casaus, three students from SLHS will earn their OSHA-30 this school year.  

“For my students, of course, we teach them residential construction,” Casaus said. “It’s everything from the floor all the way up to the roof… We have companies ready to hire them right after school in a lot of cases.” 

Eric Patten