Technology training for the Knowledge Economy

ISUS (Improved Solutions for Urban Strategies) has an innovative alternative high school education program that helps high risk youths get a high school diploma while giving them a heavy dose of on the job construction training and high tech manufacturing skills.

The program provides proficiency-based high school classes that are integrated with work training in the construction industry. But the effort has a real high tech twist, and takes vo-tech to a whole new level by building and selling houses at market prices in distressed neighborhoods.

The program has a CAD-CAM manufacturing facility where students used computer design systms to design the homes, and these are very sophisticated homes, mirroring the traditional styles used in the nieghborhoods in the early part of the twentieth century--in other words, real style. Instead of the traditional industry approach of building on site, many of the walls and floors are built in the high tech manufacturing plant using computer controlled panel assembly equipment. Students learn to build using state of the art computer and manufacturing systems, then take the parts right to the work site and put the house together.

At risk youth are getting marketable job skills, graduating from high school, and in the neighborhood where the houses are being built, the new homes are raising property values and have encouraged others in the neighborhood to rehab and fix up other homes--a win-win-win for the kids, the homeowners, and the community.

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