Tiny Home Build Teams College, High School in Desert

Students from the Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) and College of the Desert (COD) recently teamed up with the Southwest Carpenters Union to build a tiny house on wheels funded by California Community Colleges’ Strong Workforce Program. 

“The high school seniors not only learned in-demand construction skills, but they earned 12 career education community college credits during the build,” said Kevin Bibo, the Director of College and Career Readiness at Desert Sands Unified. 

“The students typically start out building various small projects to learn safety protocols, applied mathematics, interpersonal skills, and the different pathways in construction and related fields before they progress to the main project,” Bibo said. He also added that Desert Sands Unified offers about two dozen Career and Technical Education, or CTE, pathways including those in the building and construction trades. 

“The tiny house gives the students a practical project to learn these important skills,” Bibo said. “These high school career education pathways can then lead them into college career education programs and apprenticeships for employers.” 

The 20-by-8-foot home features a bathroom, kitchen, living area, an awning-covered outdoor area, and a loft that can accommodate a king-sized bed, COD Architecture Professor Bert Bitanga told the COD Board of Trustees on Oct. 21.  

“The students learned valuable skills such as building framing, wiring, electricity, plumbing, and so much more,” said Bitanga, who oversaw the construction project. “The tiny house build doesn’t just benefit the students; it also presents an opportunity for local residents seeking affordable housing options.”  

With K-12 Strong Workforce funding, DSUSD provided the space, construction equipment, and transportation for the students. College of the Desert provided the supplies to build the tiny house. 

The project was such a success that DSUSD and COD are now collaborating on a transportable temporary shelter that will resemble a portable dorm room that can accommodate two twin-sized mattresses, Bibo noted. 

As part of its Career Education program, College of the Desert collaborates with industry and employers to develop courses that prepare a skilled workforce for in-demand, high-wage jobs in the region. 

The Southwest Carpenters Union served as the tiny house project’s industry partner, providing textbooks, professional support and a pathway into an apprenticeship program at the organization’s facility in Ontario. 

The college’s academic curriculum is integrated with workforce skills in more than 30 career pathways. The college offers construction courses such as framing and finish carpentry, plumbing and electrical, and features degrees and certificates in architectural technology and construction management. 

The Strong Workforce Program provides more career education in California community colleges and K-12 schools to increase social mobility and fuel regional economies with highly skilled workers. Apply now to your local community college to earn a college degree or certificate while living debt free.  

Learn more today about how the Inland Empire and desert community colleges are helping students obtain important skills to becomecareer ready in the region. Learn about the region’s LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network that is helping pair local employers with skilled students.

Read the latest Inland Empire/Desert Career Ready Viewbook today.  

Photos Courtesy of College of the Desert