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Re: Students - Would you find a Listservice Useful?

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Thanks for the comments and I am pleased to hear that we are moving in this 
direction. Those who responded to me indicated that there are a number of 
lists on various campuses. I think ours needs to cater more to those students 
who don't reside on campus year round and do much of their work at home. This 
can be a very benificial resource to them and provide them with a great peer 
study (student helping student more so that engineer helping students). We, 
as professionals can look in from time to time to make sure they are on the 
right track or help them to find the resources they need, but our 
responsiblity should be to let them find the answers as much as possible.

Bill, I been very active in the Coachella Valley with an organization called 
the Building Horizons program. On the surface, the program trains high school 
students to build homes. This year three homes are being constructed in my 
town of La Quinta by students from two high schools.
On the bigger picture, Building Horizons is sponsered by the Boys and Girls 
Club of America. I am fortunate to have been invited to be one of the board 
of directors. Our board includes educators, those in the construction 
industry, a former state representative (Al McCandless) and the head of the 
Architectural / Construction technology department of College of the desert. 
Lately we have been working to establish pathway programs intended to inform 
and teach students early in their high school years. The purpose is to create 
opportunities for the major percentage of students who never go on to 
college. However, they need not be stuck in minimum wage jobs. With a solid 
background in High school they can graduate with sufficient skills to start 
them in construction for a decent wage. In fact the programs goal is to 
guarantee work for these young people. In addition, we want to prepare those 
students who have a desire to go farther to understand that there are jobs in 
construction managment as well as paths to professional careers as architects 
and engineers.
We are fortunate to be one of the models in the country - if mainly for the 
number of influencial people who reside here and have supported this program. 
This includes former President Jerry Ford who is chairman of the Coachella 
Valley's youth programs. This also included a visit from Colin Powell two 
months ago who had the pledge of over 1500 students in is "Promise to 
America" program.

Possibly SEA can play a role in this. One of our problems that we have a 
difficulty with is trying to improve construction quality without making 
codes more restrictive. One way to attack the problem (including the idea of 
a student listservice) is to provide proper education and training for young 
people starting early in high school. This means better shops, CAD labs, and 
the use of professionals willing to go into the schools and speak to the 
students. I've done this as part of my roll with Building Horizons and have 
enjoyed teaching a number of classes at the start of the student construction 
projects.

Regardless of their background (most are disadvantaged) I found that these 
kids have the same interests that most of us had as children - be it model 
airplaines or cars,  interest in building crafts and projects, puzzle solving 
- at the root of it, they are no different than the we are. The one thing 
they lack is proper motivation and good roll models. They also believe they 
are underprivledged by nature of their ecconomic conditions - yet it doesn't 
take much to provide new hope by showing them that they need to overcome 
their fears of the education. We try to teach them that it's easier to work 
with your mind than your back. 

Finally, the pathways programs help these people understand the practicality 
of their education by giving them real world examples of how their math and 
sciences can be used. This is what most of them lack.

I urge you to take this information to the board members and possibly have 
those involved in the education committees contact me for a list of those 
educators that they could contact to help them be more involved in solving 
tough problems now by teaching the young good practices.

Glad to hear you are interested in this.
Regards,
Dennis