PCC Southwest, Habitat for Humanity announce partnership

MANCOS – Representatives of Pueblo Community College Southwest and Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County expect a new collaboration to benefit students and the community.

Leaders from both organizations gathered on Sept. 25 to celebrate the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will provide an experiential learning lab for PCC Southwest construction program students. They will help build a Habitat for Humanity home in Cortez.

Perry Pepper, director of academic services for PCC Southwest, approached Habitat for Humanity after the college started a construction technology program

“I believe that as we diligently train a skilled construction workforce, we can also actively contribute to the construction of homes, thus fostering workforce development and helping provide homes for the community,” Pepper said.

“This partnership is a win all around,” said Heidi Mitchell, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County. “We’re engaging students in the community, putting more affordable housing into the local inventory, and keeping students here to raise their families because we can give them work skills and more affordable places to live.” 

Twelve students in PCC Southwest’s carpentry class will help build the 700 square-foot starter home. The components will be constructed on the Mancos campus under the supervision of PCC instructors and transported to the home site to be assembled. Higher Purpose Homes, one of PCC’s industry partners, will build the roof. Pepper said the hope is to complete the house by the end of the fall semester in December.

“The opportunity for PCC construction technology students to work with and partner with Habitat for Humanity is sure to be a rewarding experience for everyone,” said PCC President Patty Erjavec. “This creative learning lab will yield the competencies necessary for our students to contribute to the building trades need for skilled workers in the southwest region.”

Half of the students in the construction class are members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Tribal Council member Lyndreth Wall, a staunch supporter of the college and the construction program, attended Monday’s signing. 

“This partnership will provide real-world experience for students and a sense of pride for each student that works on this and future builds,” said Pepper. “Students for years to come will be able to share with their family and friends their pride from participation in these meaningful projects as they walk or drive by these homes.”

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