Con-Tech, Inc. is a charitable tax exempt corporation that is providing opportunities to local high school students to construct a residence. The 2015 house build project, dubbed the Nest by the students, is nearing completion and will soon be listed for sale. To provide the lot, materials and supplies necessary for students to improve their construction skills, during the school year, Con-Tech hosted its first Annual Raise the Roof Auction on April 18, 2015 at the Salem Convention Center. Mr. Mike Erdmann, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Marion & Polk Counties, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Mr. Gordon King, president, and Mr. Hunter Emerick, secretary of Con-Tech, Inc., also addressed the crowd. More than 250 supporters from the local building industry, title companies, real estate companies, and the Salem-Keizer School District attended the auction and raised more than $30,000.00 to assist in funding the 2016 build project.
In 2012, Gordon King, Hunter Emerick and Sharleen Grove, recognized the great need for students to have access to industry training and skill development in the construction field. As the Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the Salem Keizer School District Sharleen applied for a federal grant to revitalize the construction/engineering CTE programs here in the district. Through a tremendous amount of leg work, Salem Keizer Schools received the CTE revitalization grant that would fund the initial equipment set up costs and a teacher’s salary for the first year of the program.
What is Con-Tech’s relationship with the Salem-Keizer School District? Con-Tech conceived of and negotiated a memorandum of understanding with Salem Keizer Schools that delineated the roles of each organization to accomplish a student-built house on an annual basis. Salem Keizer will provide the teacher, classroom materials and initial set-up costs for a CTE cap-stone course in construction that teaches students all phases of the construction process through an annual building project. Con-Tech’s responsibility is to fund-raise, acquire a build-able lot, manage the finances/fees/insurance, provide the materials and some labor to construct and sell a house on an annual basis. The proceeds from the sale of the home will be driven back into the program to fund the next year’s house project.